December 20, 2013 2:30 pm
Updated: December 20, 2013 8:04 pm

Scott Jones looks to the future following brutal attack

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HALIFAX – A New Glasgow man paralyzed from the waist down following a violent attack says he still plans to pursue the things he loves, but it will be in a different capacity.

Scott Jones, 27, was stabbed in the back on Oct. 12 in New Glasgow, N.S. His family and friends believe he was targeted because he is openly gay. The incident has left him in a wheelchair and undergoing physiotherapy in Halifax.

Despite his new troubles, Jones has kept his sense of humour.

WATCH: The full Global News interview with Scott Jones

“Physically I’m seeing the world in a different light completely. When you can’t use your legs, obviously you’re shorter,” he said with a smile. “But things take a lot longer, like dressing myself, showering and things you don’t really think about before — or I didn’t at least.”

When Global News met with Jones, it was the first time he had been outside in a while. The New Glasgow man commented on how nice it was to breathe in fresh air, adding he could count on his hand how many times he had been outside since his attack.

Scott Jones breathes in some breathe air on a trip outside the Rehab Centre.

Julia Wong/Global News

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Jones reflected on how he had told his friends  before the attack he did not think he would be able to survive if he became paralyzed, but his own experience has changed his outlook on life.

“You surprise yourself. When you have to make it through, you do.”

Though it has been two months since the attack, Jones said the incident is still fresh in his mind.

“Psychologically I’m just getting around to dealing with my emotions. After the initial shock and recovering physically, now it’s time to look inward,” he said.

He has been keeping a positive and optimistic outlook, but admits the weight of reality hits him on occasion.

“There are days that I struggle. I have some meltdowns and there are days when I’m happier and not as sad.”

“You surprise yourself. When you have to make it through, you do”

But Jones said he is confronting his emotions head-on.

“I don’t want to be angry, but it’s such a big emotion for me right now that I have to feel it and deal with it instead of avoiding it.”

He cites his parents and sisters as sources of inspiration who have taught him how to stay positive during his recovery.

“They all taught me to appreciate happiness. It gets you through the harder times more than being sad. There’s a time to be sad and to feel that but for the most part, I think happiness is really, really important.”

As he looks back on how his life has changed in the last two months, Jones said the biggest trauma was when he was told he would not walk again.

“All my passions: traveling, running, swimming, biking, playing the piano, everything that I love … it was a really hard moment,” he said with emotion in his voice. “But since then, I realize you really can lead a happy life. I’m not there yet fully, because I’m not quite independent yet, but it’s not all lost. You can still do a lot.”

Jones, an avid traveler and musician, says he does not plan to let his new life as a paraplegic dictate how he lives his life.

“There are bikes you can pedal with your hands. I [still] want to travel the world as much as I can, it will just have to be a different type of travel to countries that are more accessible, and perform as many concerns as possible,” he said.

Jones said he is progressing in terms of his physiotherapy.

“Some muscles are coming back in my lower limbs. We’re just working on strengthening what I have at this point. If anything comes back, we’ll strengthen that,” he said.

News that feeling is coming back in some muscles has Jones cautiously optimistic.

“It gives hope to the situation. It’s hard because I catch myself thinking, ‘Oh I’m going to walk normally again’ but that’s unlikely. But I still remain hopeful that could happen, but right now I’m just looking at what I have and working on strengthening the muscles that I do have.”

For the time being, Jones says he is not looking too far into the future but rather living in the moment.

“I’m just working through whatever comes up on a particular day, at a particular moment.”

The 27-year-old has been showered with support from the community and even total strangers ever since the attack. Friends have organized fundraisers to raise money for a trust fund to help Jones during his rehabilitation, and many stores in Halifax raised money through various events.

Jones said the attack slightly shook his faith in humanity, but notes the outpouring of love from friends, family and strangers has helped restore it.

“I have no doubt in the beauty of the world,” he said.

“When I couldn’t stand, other people stood for me and carried me along.”

Jones and his friends have been working on an awareness campaign against homophobia called Don’t Be Afraid.

Jones and his friends have started a campaign called Don’t Be Afraid. (Photo: Julia Wong/Global News)

Julia Wong/Global News

“I was afraid. My family was afraid. My community was afraid. I just wanted to let go of all the fear that surrounded the attack and just go with love,” he said.

Jones said the campaign is meant to start a dialogue about the fear surrounding homophobia.

“When I couldn’t stand, other people stood for me and carried me along.”

The upcoming holidays is the first time Jones will go back to New Glasgow since the attack.

“I wouldn’t say I’m scared. I know it’s going to bring up some emotions so I’m apprehensive about that but I think it has to be faced. Whatever comes up, comes up.”

Jones will return to Halifax to continue with physiotherapy in the New Year and said he plans to make Halifax his new home.

He adds that his goal is to, one day, be able to forgive his attacker.

“I think I have a lot of questions to ask myself before that happens, but I’m hopeful one day I will,” he said.

When asked about his resolution for 2014, Jones smiled before he responds.

“I really like the quote from Finding Nemo when Dory says ‘Just keep swimming’ but change it to ‘Just keep moving.’ I’ve got to keep moving.”

Nineteen-year-old Shane Edward Matheson was arrested in connection with the attack on Jones and faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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