Coen de Rooij was born on 2 January 1972 in Helmond. Prior to his accident, Coen worked as a printer and furthermore attended a school for graphic design in Eindhoven. In September 1989, the 17-year old Coen was involved in a car accident where he suffered a grave injury to his spine that left him paralysed from the neck down. He spent a long time in rehabilitation. In 1991 he attended a painting demonstration given by Kees Schut, Full Member of VDMFK, which inspired him to learn to draw with the mouth.