BREATH-GIVING CAUSE 29th June 7th July 2019′
Ten Years On!
In 2009, I had difficulties walking 50 metres and needs a ventilator eight hours a day to stay alive, drove my Boma (a battery powered off-road wheelchair) across England raising money for one of the Nation’s leading respiratory unit. I thought this would be my final challenge as I had just recovered after 8 years of severe respiratory collapse. Today, nearly 10 years on and a number of further final challenges, I plan to re-visit Hadrian’s Wall and re-cross England in my Boma.
Starting in the last week of June 2019 I will ride Coast to Coast from Bowness-on-Solway to South Shields following 105 miles of the Hadrian’s Wall cycle route to raise funds for the Lane Fox Respiratory Unit Patients’ Association at St Thomas’s Hospital, Scoliosis Association UK and Cancer Research UK.
I have a rare condition called Klippel-Feil Syndrome which creates a fusion in the cervical spine. Depending on the area of fusion, there can be related congenital conditions. In my case, I was born with a cleft palate, hearing loss, underbite, short neck with webbing, painless restriction of cervical movement, scoliosis, kyphosis and a non-severe aplastic anemia.
My whole life has been a challenge, but he has never let my condition deter me from tackling journeys on which many able-bodied people would struggle. I have already attempted to trek to Everest Base Camp, summitted Ben Nevis and Snowdon, and canoed down the River Mino in Spain, raising many thousands for charity. However, I am now less able to trek or canoe and the physical aspects of these activities are now beyond him. Please visit Martin’s website for more information www.martinsymons.co.uk
“Martin’s body may be weak, but his spirit and determination remain unbowed”
In 2004 Chris Swift, along with a group of wheelchair users, started developing a wheelchair that embodies the adventurous outdoor spirit. Their company, Molten Rock, developed the Boma, a fantastic off-road wheelchair. Molten Rock loaned me a Boma for my 2009 challenge and I subsequently acquired my own machine which as carried me on many adventures over the last few years. Molten Rock has been taken over by Equal Adventure who now make the Boma 7.
I will cross England from Bowness-on-Solway in the west to South Shields in the east, 105 miles from coast to coast. I will spend 3 to 4 hours in the saddle each day covering between 17 and 24 miles. The journey will take me 7 days. I will require a full 8 hours on a ventilator each night to recover enough strength for the following day’s adventure.
Lou Hamilton from Create Lab along with Paul Lang as cameraman, produced an award-winning documentary Being Martin about my life and the 2009 Coast to Coast Challenge. A short version can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THtBMvM95pw
Please support me in this challenging journey and help raise funds for my chosen charities “ a truly Breath-Giving Cause that makes a difference to people’s lives.
Charities I’m supporting