Support next generation
Fund-raiser for next crop of paralympians
As this year’s Paralympians arrive home from Rio to accolades for their performances the next crop of contenders are gearing up to hit the peaks of sporting excellence in the Winter games in Pyeongchang in 2018.
To this end some of Edinburgh’s big hitters in business are putting their weight behind a fundraising dinner in the city.
With the emphasis on fun, diners are asked to dress in apres ski. The event, sponsored by Capital Document Solutions, BD Xchange, iMultiply Resourcing, and Mazars, also promises to provide more inspiration.
Paralympian Owen Pick, 24, a former squaddie from Cambridge who is now ranked the world’s sixth top snowboarder, is one of the speakers.
He lost a leg serving in Afghanistan. He is now poised to get on board with the current pack of Winter performers.
Having taken up snowboarding with Blesma, an army rehab unit, he has come a long way since this first fateful tour of duty four years ago.
“I was three months into my tour of duty when I got blown up,” he said.
“We’d been under fire all day and got the order to assault a compound after a firefight as we helped out a section that had come under heavy contact.
“The first three dropped their bags so they could be a bit lighter once they got in and one of them said to me just get the bags and when I took a step there was a big explosion and that was the last I remember.
“It blew me 10 feet in the air and 15 feet back. But I don’t remember anything until I was back in the UK two days later with my parents at my bedside.”
A period of rehabilitation followed and the battle to keep his leg lasted for 18 months until it was decided to amputate from the knee down.
Through Blesma, he took up snowboarding on a course in Colorado and has been collecting medals ever since.
“I feel that no injury should get you down or hold you back,” he said. “It is tough and you are going to have bad days, but you can still do what you want.”
He is now firmly focussed on getting the team to Pyeongchang.
It’s a big deal as he and his heroic team mates are breaking new ground.
“This will be the first time in sporting history a British Paralympics team will aim to compete in the Winter Olympics in a snowboarding category.”
The fundraising dinner in Edinburgh, which will be hosted by BBC sports presenter Alison Walker, will also see Owen take to the stage as a motivational speaker.
“This is something I want to do more of. I want to encourage others to follow their dreams despite their setbacks in life.”
He also finds time to mentor other disabled athletes and amputees.
“I like to help them out in an informal basis as I was given so much help and nothing is unachievable,” he said.
He found this year’s Summer Paralympians inspiring.
“Every year Paralympians train to get better and better, and knowledge of disabilities and what can be achieved in competition gets better. I am always aiming to get to the next level. I’ve moved from seventh in the world to sixth this year and I will battle to keep going up the ranks.”
Tickets for the drinks reception and dinner at The Place Hotel, York Place, Edinburgh on 3 November:
Those interested in sponsoring the event: email@example.com