The wind blows the hair outside the Lumo house in Kalasatama. The sea is just a few metres away, and the bridge to Mustikkamaa island is close by. On the fifth floor, a tall, handsome young man welcomes us with a smile. Pekka Hyysalo has just returned from his morning walk in Mustikkamaa. He moved to Kalasatama with his girlfriend Enna in the late summer.
The atmosphere is cosy already in the spacious hall: the wall is painted in beautiful dark blue, and the parquet floor glows in warm tones. The same midnight blue colour palette continues in the living room and open plan kitchen, full of light that floods in through the big windows and balcony. A delicious scent of toasted oats and nuts wafts through the home. Three baking trays full of muesli have just come out of the oven.
“We actually eat this much of the stuff in one week, Pekka and I,” Enna reveals.
Two nice sliding doors lead to the bedroom on the right. The sliding doors are a feature particularly liked by the young couple. The two-room apartment, which seems more spacious than you would think considering the area, is now their home in Helsinki.
“Do we enjoy this? Well, in short, yes, we like this a lot,” Hyysalo says.
Kalasatama’s attractions were Mustikkamaa, good connections and friends
When Pekka Hyysalo’s girlfriend was accepted to study in Helsinki, the couple faced a tough choice: they would have to move to the capital, even though they shared a home in Turku. Apartment hunting started online. Their friends, a couple living downstairs in the same house gave them a tip about a Lumo home in Kalasatama. After a few months of waiting, the search gave an alert about a two-room apartment in the same house where their friends live.
“We paid the deposit pretty much immediately and came to view this the following week. We kind of fell in love with this home,” Hyysalo says with a smile.
If the home was love at first sight, Hyysalo also liked the gym and the sauna with a sea view on the top floor of the house. Further attractions in favour of this home were the excellent services in the nearby Redi shopping centre, and good connections. Mustikkamaa’s outdoor recreation area with its jogging tracks and gym equipment finally sealed the choice. A match made in heaven.
10 years since the disastrous accident
Everyday life in Kalasatama is going well. When his girlfriend goes to study, Hyysalo usually starts his day with a 5─10 minute HIIT training session on the balcony, flat out and with high intensity. Then he does breathing exercises and stretching. His daily schedule also includes walks in Mustikkamaa and workouts at the many outdoor exercise points on the island. At lunchtime, he may pop out to the nearby Teurastamo area, where a friend has an office.
For Hyysalo, training is rehabilitation because of the severe brain damage he suffered 10 years ago in a skiing accident. In one second, the life of a promising free skier was transformed into a fight for his life. After weeks in a coma, rehabilitation began, with the aim of being able to lead an independent life.
Hyysalo characterises the past 10 years as an incredible journey.
“For the first couple of years, I was in denial, refusing to accept what had happened. I suffered from severe symptoms of brain damage and faced huge challenges. I refused to admit to myself that they would be anything other than restrainers. I did things that were more harmful than useful, like starting to rehabilitate myself in traditional ways. Then I discovered a rehabilitation method called the Vasa Concept, which involves reorganising the brain through physical movement. I became obsessed with it and it has done me a world of good. I trained according to the concept for three years, at least six hours a day, five days a week.”
Today, Hyysalo trains more moderately and only when he feels like it. However, he wants to exercise every day because he does not have to force himself to do it anymore.
“If I didn’t train, I’d feel guilty. If these exercises help me get in better shape, there is no reason why I wouldn’t do all I can for it.”
It is easy to do good things in a comfortable home
For Hyysalo, it is important that his home is calm and peaceful. Of course, he finds it nice that the home looks good and feels cosy as well. The couple did not need to buy anything as such because they managed to get the furniture from friends and family.
However, one piece of furniture is more important than everything else – a good bed. The young couple will soon have a custom-made bed, and Hyysalo is looking forward to it.
“Good quality sleep is absolutely vital for me because it facilitates so much in rehabilitation. It is a really responsible thing to do to invest in a good night’s sleep. I still have a lot to achieve through rehabilitation, and I can influence its success myself.”
The achievements to which Hyysalo has managed to push himself to are incredible. He has not only rehabilitated himself successfully but also written a book called FightBack, and established a company with the same name. He uses the income to support others who have suffered from a head injury.
Hyysalo’s second book came out in September. The theme is responsibility.
“My dream is that the book will be so successful that it will change people’s lives. I want to make responsibility a cool thing and make people understand that responsibility is not a heavy burden but something extremely valuable.”
A peaceful and comfortable home is a good starting point for fighting back. However, what is the source of Pekka Hyysalo’s extremely positive attitude?
“The basic character is based on DNA, genetics, but we have the opportunity to choose how we use them. My attitude is a purposeful choice. If we all only do good things, only good things will happen. That’s what I want to be involved in.”