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Ealish tackles the Wolf Run for iDID

August 20th, 2017

 

I’m Ealish and I’m a Speech and Language Therapist. I work with Adults with Learning Disabilities and absolutely love my job! I’m passionate about promoting independence and supporting absolutely everyone to reach their own full potentials whatever that may be and in any way I can. I’m not afraid to try something new or experiment, maybe do things a little differently to get the end result. I think it’s this ‘out of the box thinking’ which is why I love iDID. iDID has taken exercise and sport, something many of us take for granted, and said it’s not good enough. They have looked at our opportunities and found any way they can to make these accessible to anyone and everyone, just how it should be!! iDID don’t see limitations, just like me!! Amazing!

I have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS), also known as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type (hEDS). These are used interchangeably although I prefer to use the first, sounds less fancy! I’ve got a nice definition for you in case you’re not sure what it is. My joints move beyond the normal range of movement which is good for party tricks but not so much day to day. It’s associated with joint and ligament injuries, pain and fatigue. My body’s connective tissue is affected therefore my joints are lax, particularly my ligaments and tendons. Some people can dislocate joints but (fingers crossed) because I work hard with my exercise and keep my body strong this hasn’t happened to me. It also takes me longer to recover from injury. My skin and organs are affected too due to these connective tissues. I’ve always found solace and enjoyment in exercise although it causes me pain. For me it’s important I continue to exercise to stay physically strong. So why shouldn’t everyone else have the opportunity to have the same feelings?

There is another reason I want to fundraise for iDID. When iDID was set up I mentioned it to my Brother who is blind and also has JHS. This gave him the confidence to try out some sports he’d never thought of trying before, we went rock climbing and kayaking to start off with and he loved it! He found out from trying these sports that actually the only boundary was his own confidence! With a little bit of support to slightly adapt the sports he was off and really enjoying himself!

I’ve found a certain amount of comfort through sport and feel everyone should also find their own relationship with it. I’ve watched iDID grow and seen the great work it does but they rely on donations and funding to keep innovating their work and delivering their programs to more people. I’m looking forward to the Wolf Run although I know it will be really hard! I’m hoping to raise £200 and I’ve already reached over half of my target which is fantastic!!

Please click here to sponsor our team and help us raise more money to help iDID continue its wonderful work.

Categories:   Guest Blogs  

Posted By:  Guest

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Eiger Paraclimb: An emotional rollercoaster

July 18th, 2015

As the team settle at basecamp, we are excited to bring this thought-provoking blog to summerise what the Eiger Paraclimb is all about. Something to challenge the team, emotionally and physically. Something to demonstrate to the global climbing community what is possible in paraclimbing...

...Something real.

"The Eiger challenge has pushed me in ways I didn’t expect. The big thing for me was being able to begin and sustain training with the challenges I already was dealing with. Without going into too much detail I already had a lot happening, stuff that felt very full on. Going out of my comfort zone in many ways at the same time; pushing my ability to cope."

In this third addition to the series, we catch up with Colin Gourlay to find out a little bit more about what the Eiger Paraclimb means to him. As an outdoor instructor for the Prince's Trust Fairbridge Programme, Colin has a breadth of experience working with young people. He is also an instructor at the Glasgow Climbing Centre and plays the drums too.

Thanks for chatting with us Colin. How are you feeling ahead of the challenge?

I am a storm of feelings over it to be honest. The ‘Eiger’ is a big mountain with a big name. All the publicity and all of this has made it bigger in a way but when it boils down to the simplicity of climbing strong and safe I’m feeling pretty solid.

It's not everyday you wake up and say, "I'm going to climb the Eiger with a team of paraclimbers". What made you get involved?

In the simplest sense, a friend ask me. Mark asked me years back to do the North Face with him and I said no. Time to say yes to something, even though I didn’t know what it would truly entail.

Has this project changed your own view of paraclimbers?

In some ways yes and some ways no. I already had a pretty unrestricted view of people overall but have learned a lot meeting the team; about humour, human spirit and care. I have been taken by their uncluttered view of climbing and ballsy wish to climb the Eiger. It has been in many ways much easier to click with the team – none of the tiresome ego b*ll~cks to deal with (such a breath of fresh air really).

How significant do you think this challenge is for the perception of paraclimbing?

I think the FinalCrux film could really present new images, new conceptions of what is possible and that may become a truly inspirational thing. Not simply for paraclimbers but for everyone. The way the London Paralympics offered a new story of what people can do, want to do and dream of doing. In a way it is magical, both precious and beautiful.

I think it was Goethe who said.. "whatever you dream or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has a power and magic to it". We all need a bit of this I think…

"[I] have learned a lot meeting the team; about humour, human spirit and care. I have been taken by their uncluttered view of climbing."

The team are aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues through the Climb Out 365 challenge. How important is this cause for you?

Supporting the climb out idea and choosing the challenge of the Eiger has forced me to confront myself and some of my own challenges; to try to climb out myself.

There is so much stigma around mental health that I feel it is vitally important for every possible avenue be opened up to work against this. If people can help each other, support each other and celebrate the achievements of one another we have the beginnings of a community, a culture even, that is beyond stigma. This may then give a place for people to feel they are valued; that their struggles are understood, their achievements and setbacks too. Maybe then people will find ways to grow and find positive change for a better life.

I hope too the climbing community embrace a culture of understanding and support, fostering a culture of well being for all.

A small team of British Paraclimbers are tackling the West Flank Route to the summit of The Eiger in Switzerland in July along with Finalcrux Films who will be recording the climb. Assisted by Mark McGowan and Colin Gourlay, the objective is to safely climb The Eiger with two members of the BMC GB Paraclimbing Team, John Churcher (Visually Impaired), Alex Taylor (Multiple Sclerosis), and British Paraclimber, Jamie Owen (Autism).

The Eiger Paraclimb 2015 is inspired by a will to raise awareness of Paraclimbing on an international stage alongside supporting the climbout365 challenge for awareness of mental health. You can support the project by donating to the FundRazr page.

Categories:   Guest Blogs  

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Eiger Paraclimb: A life-changing sport

July 4th, 2015

We are very excited to be back with our second edition of the Eiger paraclimb blog. After an awesome weekend on the podium at the first IFSC Paraclimbing competition, we caught up with John Churcher to see how he's dealing with the last weeks of preparation for the Eiger climb.

"People say that I am inspiring, but I just see myself as an ordinary guy, doing what I love. Hopefully my love of the sport will be shared by others. This has changed my life. I want it to do the same for other people."

John lives in Birmingham with his wife, daughter and Guide Dog. He's been climbing for 5 years which led him to competing on the GB Paraclimbing Team. Currently ranked at world no. 3 in his category, John's making impressive progress on the comp circuit this year. With a huge passion for improving opportunities to get involved in paraclimbing, John recently set up England's first independent competition dedicated to paraclimbing.

You've been climbing for 5 years now. How did you get involved and how on earth did it lead you to the Eiger?

I always thought that I would be good at it. I have a friend who is a climber, and a member of Solihull Mountaineering Club. She invited me along to a climbing wall, then as a family we went along to a Taster Session at an outdoor crag. I've been hooked ever since.

Mark McGowan sent me a video of blind children climbing in the Himalayas. I responded by saying 'makes me want to climb a mountain'.

Mark asked if I wanted to climb the Eiger... Obviously I said Yes!

Each member of the team have their roles, can you tell us a bit about your role?

It turns out I'm the responsible one (laughs). I write to potential sponsors, organise the travel and look after the funds. Each of us are also responsible for supporting each other through the highs and lows... that doesn't just happen on the mountain!

What do you think it is about climbing that you love so much?

No other sport has ever got me hooked. Climbing, with Solihull Mountaineering Club is very sociable. I just love it. Especially the independence when climbing a route outdoors using touch to select holds, and no-one telling me what I need to do

"I hope to encourage other people with a disability, to give climbing a try and know the climbing community will support them to do so."

At the risk of adding to the pressure, this project is pretty major. How are you feeling in the run up to it?

I'm actually feeling pretty laid back. I'm excited and just eager to get started.

How does this challenge compare to anything you've done before?

I've been trekking in the Himalayas before and I think that was more stressful. It was mostly because I'd never been abroad before but for the Eiger, I feel ready. Training and preparations are going well, we've got some fantastic sponsors behind us, and I'm happy to have Mark as my sight guide.

A small team of British Paraclimbers are tackling the West Flank Route to the summit of The Eiger in Switzerland in July along with Finalcrux Films who will be recording the climb. Assisted by Mark McGowan and Colin Gourlay, the objective is to safely climb The Eiger with two members of the BMC GB Paraclimbing Team, John Churcher (Visually Impaired), Alex Taylor (Multiple Sclerosis), and British Paraclimber, Jamie Owen (Autism).

The Eiger Paraclimb 2015 is inspired by a will to raise awareness of Paraclimbing on an international stage alongside supporting the climbout365 challenge for awareness of mental health. You can support the project by donating to the FundRazr page.