[AMP-L] South Pole without limits, the abilities of the disabled
Walter G. Piazza
wgpiazza at gmail.com
Mon Jan 2 11:24:50 PST 2012
Would you accept the following challenge?
Walk on snow seven hours per day for twelve consecutive days at 3,000 meters above sea level, standing an average temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius and strong winds to reach the Geographic South Pole. For persons with physical limitations only.
This challenge was accepted by Eric Villalon, Xavier Valbuena and Jesus Noriega of Spain who succesfully finished this incredible 200 km journey on January 20, 2009. By doing it they not only honoured Sir Ernest Shackleton and the members of the legendary Nimrod Expedition which in 1909 failed short by 200 km of reaching for the first time the Geographic South Pole. They also evidenced once more the abilities of "disabled people".
Eric is a paralimpic alpine ski champion and has 5% of normal vision since birth.
Xavier is a science teacher, yacht captain and lost his right leg above the knee after a motorcycle accident.
Jesus is a marketing executive, diver and was born without the right hand. They all accepted the South Pole challenge and qualified for it after two years of preparation and training in Norway and Greenland.
In the book -South Pole without limits, the abilities of the disabled- published only in Spanish, Xavier Valbuena explains: "To solve the numerous prosthetic issues I had a great ally: Josep Maria Camus, my orthopedist and friend since the accident. He is not only one of the best in Spain but a person who has converted his profession into true passion. For his research and development work to design and build a polar prosthesis he deserves to be considered more of an artist than a technician. Thanks to his proposals and improvements based on feedback given by me during simulated walks on sand, he was able to build a simple prosthesis which turned out to be very effective to withstand the extreme weather conditions of the Antarctic." (The translation is mine)
You can see Xavier Valbuena and the rest of the South Pole without Limits Team in the following YouTube link. (Spanish only although the images speak for themselves)
After reading the book, I wanted to share this story with my North American friends of amp-l.
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