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Prince steps back into the spotlight

Prince Amponsah
“I had no intentions of going back to acting,” says Prince Amponsah. After surviving a devastating apartment fire, one that scorched 68 per cent of his body, damaged his lungs and led to the amputation of his lower arms, Prince says he had to overcome his own fears and anxiety in order to find his way back to his acting career. With the care of Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre, the largest and most advanced burn centre in Canada, and St. John’s Rehab, the only burn rehabilitation program in Ontario, Prince embarked on his extensive journey to recovery.

After more than 40 surgeries, over 9 months, followed by a year and a half of intensive rehabilitation, today, Prince says his recovery was as much about his mental and emotional recovery, as it was about his physical one. He credits his ability to always find a positive perspective to his social worker, Anne Hayward, who played a critical role in his recovery. “She saw people going through traumatic situations like mine and was able to help me always find a positive focus,” he says. St. John’s Rehab is recognized as a leader in delivering inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services that focus on a person’s mind, body and spirit.

Inspired by his experience with Anne, Prince spent a year studying social work, until a friend and director approached him about a role in a theatre production. “At first I was hesitant, but then I decided to read the play and the character, and it really persuaded me to get over my fears and anxiety,” says Prince. When the curtain fell on his first performance, Prince knew his passion for acting remained strong, and with the support and encouragement of his personal and professional network, there was no looking back.

I want to be an example of how to get over barriers that come into your life, and what we can do when obstacles come our way,” says Prince.
Prince Amponsah
Prince Amponsah: “Sharing my story helps me. That’s why I do it. It gives people pause when I’m positive.”

Whether he’s on stage or on set Prince says it’s all only possible thanks to his experience at Sunnybrook. “Sunnybrook was vital to my recovery,” says Prince, “From the nurses to medical team, everyone at Sunnybrook became like a second family.” Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre was the first burn centre in Canada and the second outside the United States to be verified by the American Burn Association. This verification indicated the centre’s high-quality patient care for burn patients from the time of their injury, through their recovery.

Saving lives is the first priority of the burn team, but restoring a patient’s quality of life is also an essential focus for the team.

Prince describes his recovery and rehab at Sunnybrook as being an atmosphere of camaraderie, having regular conversations and being able to laugh with is care providers. “Whether I got an extra sandwich or a nurse shared something that made us laugh, the patient experience is really crucial, it’s just as important as the medical treatment and care,” he says. Prince is not alone in his experience. It is in these every day interactions combined with the innovative care at St. John’s Rehab which makes Sunnybrook a special place for patients, their families and caregivers.

Along with his theatre and television roles which most recently included the HBO series Station Eleven, he is also embarking on a public speaking career, using his story to help others overcome their own adversity. Prince considers this to be his way of giving back the kindness, and care he received from the team at Sunnybrook.