A Shropshire man paralysed in a climbing accident four years ago has launched a £3,000 fundraising campaign for a vital piece of equipment which he says would change his life.
Darren Edwards from Shrewsbury was left with a broken back and paralysed from the chest down after a fall while rock climbing with a friend in North Wales in 2016.
Since then Darren has fought back, launching his own charity – Strength Through Adversity – and is now planning to lead a team of former servicemen in a 1,400km kayaking challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Darren works hard to raise awareness of spinal injuries and his charity – speaking at events like Oswestry law firm Lanyon Bowdler’s spinal injuries conference. Lanyon Bowdler has now kick-started Darren’s appeal by donating £300.
Darren needs to raise £3,000 to buy a Batec Hybrid handbike – an add-on handbike with electric assist giving flexibility in aiding physical exercise without giving up the user’s manual wheelchair. It offers the equivalent of an electrically assisted bike.
“Since my climbing accident I have refused to accept that I cannot get back into the outdoors and to continue exploring the places I once loved,” he said.
“This has, at times, been extremely hard work, and has resulted in injury and setbacks to what I am trying to achieve with this challenge, and in my training to become part of the UK Paracanoe team.
“Now, this is where I would like to ask for help. There is a certain piece of equipment known as a Batec Hybrid attachment that I have started fundraising for.
“It’s a device that, without exaggeration, would change my life. The cost of this device is £3,000 and is pretty unachievable on my modest salary.
“I don’t like asking for help, I am stubbornly independent, but in this instance I fully recognise that I do need assistance in achieving my goal.”
Amanda Jones, marketing director at Lanyon Bowdler, said: “Darren’s story is an inspirational one and he has done so much since his accident to raise awareness about spinal injuries, including addressing our spinal injury conference.
“Leading a team of injured and wounded former servicemen from Land’s End to John O’Groats is an incredible challenge, which we are sure will act as an inspiration for others.
“Darren has always been keen to help others who find themselves in a similar situation and let them know how important it is to remain positive as they attempt to put their lives back together in the most difficult of circumstances.
“He does this with great effect through his charity and we are delighted to be able to help with his fundraising efforts.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/wheelchair-attachment-for-outdoor-adventures
To read more of Darren’s story or to find out more about his charity, visit www.strengththroughadversity.co.uk