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A Global Quadriplegic Challenge

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Personal Achievements PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arthur D Piercy   
Saturday, 11 July 2009 17:45

It's amazing when you look back on your life; you see how dramatically things can and have changed in a very short time. I have also learned or rather realized that in my case it is strangely for the better.

Naturally the biggest change took place after my disability. Now even the smallest of obstacles was a major challenge to overcome. Suddenly I had to exert a lot of effort and energy to get back where I wanted to be.

Lying flat on your back for 24hrs a day 7 days a week for the first 6 weeks gave me a lot of time to consider the future. Once you have made the decision that all is not lost you then start planning your rehab to achieve your goals. One thing I have developed now is the ability to take on a ‘calculated dare’. If I hear the word ‘can’t’ I see red. The word ‘can’t’ should be removed from the dictionary. The mind is extremely powerful and if you set your mind to do something then there is always a possibility you will achieve it. Trying to achieve something is far better than not trying at all and if you approach it from this angle then failure is not a defeat but rather a lesson. Following my own advice I took on a few interesting challenges.

SCUBA DIVING

Scuba DivingIn 1993 I decided to try my hand at a little scuba diving.

With the help of an Association for the disabled called CURAMUS, I arranged for an instructor to come to South Africa. Jim Gatager the founder of the HSA ( Handicapped Scuba Association )  trained some 6 of our local instructors in the art of teaching the disabled to dive safely.

The CURAMUS ASSOCIATION has had 3 successful diving courses presented to our members.

You cannot believe the freedom that diving gave me. NO WHEELCHAIR!!

Scuba Diving

We were asked by numerous media groups to give them a demonstration - hence the pictures.

Please note that the word "die" in the photograph does not have anything to do with dangers of diving but is rather the local Afrikaans word for "THE".

CYCLING

I then decided to attempt the ARGUS CYCLE TOUR. A 105 km route around the Cape Peninsular. Seven months before the event, and again with assistance from CURAMUS, I had a hand cycle imported from America.

Bertus le Roux, a serious tri-athlete, volunteered to assist me. Thanks to Bertus and his father Dr Chris le Roux for all the support, who without I would not have even Cyclingmade the starting line.

The training was extremely difficult. One problem a quadriplegic has to deal with is the control of body temperature, a serious factor to consider when you are expecting to spend hours out on the road. This is where Bertus was so important. He towed a trailer behind his bicycle in which we put a cooler box filled with cold water. Whenever I got too hot he would spray the cold water over my head and shoulders.

cycle4.jpg (44130 bytes)Unfortunately for me seven months was insufficient training for this event.

I only managed to complete 56 km of the very mountainous course. It was 8hrs and 20min before I decided enough is enough. The worst was still to come on the route and I did not see myself having enough energy for the last 50 km. At least I tried and all the training did me the world of good.

WHEELCHAIR RUGBY

Then in 1996, I got involved with a new sport that was introduced to South Africa - WHEELCHAIR RUGBY.

What an incredible game. Designed for the quadriplegic, wheelchair rugby is a very challenging and physical Game. At the time the team I was playing for, the Gauteng Bulls had only lost 2 games since we started. We lost one game in the round robin of the 1998 Elite Games causing us to finish as Bronze Medallists.

In August 1998, I was part of a team that went to "World Wheel Chair Games" in Stoke Mandeville England. 

ATHLETICS

I have done some athletics. It has only been Field Events (Shot-put, Discus and Javelin). In 1998 I was the crowned the SA Champion in the Discuss and Javelin events and the silver medallist in Shot-put.

My next challenge is Wheel chair Ballroom Dancing. It looks like a lot of fun and it is my chosen relaxation sport for this year. Look out Fred Astair

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 January 2011 06:13
 

Testimonials

Extracts from a testimonial recieved from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

"I would like to thank Arthur Piercy for inspiring us. We need to always have driven and positive human beings like him, who don't constantly dwell on the ills of the past but on the possibilties of the future" (Zola)

"To me the important points that he made were that one's life is very important and it is that indiviual's responsibility to take care of it no matter what; and that determination can conquerany obstacle" (David)

"I was humbled by his humility, determination and passion for life. Nothing can and will stand in his way and I admire it about him. He just opened my eyes to the fact that if you want to you can, all you need is determination" (Ntombi) 

"Indeed your response to a life changing circumstance certainly places you in a special class, somewhere above the rest of us. But your incredible sense of humour, your humaness - those form the bridge that allows ordinary human beings to rub shoulders with you and face their own, smaller situations, encouraged. Thank you for that." Nadia Coetzee : Director: Foreign Qualifications Evaluation and Advisory Services.

 
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