Disabled man crosses country in electric wheelchair
A LONDONER who embarked on a journey across the country in his electric wheelchair to bring the spotlight on the challenges facing people with disabilities made a pit stop in South Gloucestershire at the weekend.
Martyn Sibley, an ambassador for Britain’s Personal Best, a Big Lottery Funded project to keep the spirit of London 2012 alive, set off from John O’Groats on September 5 and is planning to reach Lands End on Friday, October 4 to mark one year since the Paralympic Games and raise funds for charities, Scope and Variety.
His journey led him to the Severn Beach area on his way to bristol on Saturday, September 21.
Martyn suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which means he is unable to walk, lift anything heavier than a book or shower by himself.
But he never allowed his condition to hamper him in anyway. Despite being wheel-chair bound he has travelled the globe and drives his own car.
He also runs his own business, the online magazine Disability Horizons, and lives independently in the capital. "Like others all across the UK I was spellbound by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and it wasn’t just the sport, it was the electricity in the air," he said.
"It was the collective community consciousness and for me it was about the big bright light put on disability never before witnessed in the four corners of the UK. I’m never going to be a Paralympian, nor am I going to step out in the white-and-blue at White Hart Lane as a major Spurs fan.
"What I think I can do, though, is take the baton from those athletes who represented not only their country but their fellow disabled people with such distinction. And I can do that by demonstrating and overcoming the hurdles that we face not just in sports stadia, but in our daily lives."
His limited upper body strength means Martyn needs to travel with a large hoist to lift him out of his chair each evening. As he is unable to undertake the challenge alone, his girlfriend Kasia has been by his side throughout riding her bicycle.
Martyn is hoping to be an example to many and is encouraging locals to reach new goals ahead of Britain’s Personal Best big weekend between October 4 and 6.
To sign up and take part, please visit www.whatsyours.org and follow @BritainsPB #personalbest To make a donation to disability organisation Scope and children’s charity Variety visit www.scope.org.uk and www.variety.org.uk
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