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Entries in expedition (2)

Monday
Sep262016

Epilepsy & Inspiration 

A week ago, I gave a presentation on my expeditions at Epilepsy South Africa's Annual General Meeting. The title sounds a bit bland but, those who attended were some of the bravest and most impressive individuals I've met. I've had Epilepsy for a long time now, yet I'm in a very fortunate position. Even though I've had a few episodes in the past couple of years, my medication is keeping everything under control, plus I have the most supportive people around me.

Epilepsy affects more than 500,000 South African and even with great organisations like Epilepsy S.A there is still a huge stigma towards it. Many people never tell their friends or family because they feel like they'll be judged or rejected.
The presentations and discussions became emotional, yet they grounded and left me inspired. A talented up-and-coming BMX rider, Justin Dekker, who has had epilepsy since he was a baby, spoke about how much he's managed to have achieved. He's transformed his self-image as being a  "sufferer" to racing the world's best regardless of the many people who have discouraged him from what he loves most. Another woman who has just recently been diagnosed built up the courage to come for help. She was in her late 40s and had recently been diagnosed, which frightened her tremendously, however, what was amazing was her will to find people to talk to- other individuals with epilepsy whom she could relate to and assist her in being proactive and in acceptance with it.
The people who run the provincial branches, find funding or go into communities to bring awareness to the condition. These kind committed folk are the ones who make sure that a scared child who is suffering from epilepsy is comforted and their teachers and family are made aware that there is nothing "wrong" with their student, son, or daughter.
Being diagnosed with epilepsy was tough and scary but, it would have been far worse if I didn't have the support of my family and Epilepsy SA to help me through it all. I sat and listened to beautiful stories that left a lump in my throat. It's so important to see ordinary looking people who are actually accomplishing great feats every single day.
I'm so proud to be an ambassador of Epilepsy SA because it has given me the opportunity to meet such wonderful and strong people as well as allowing me to share my experiences in the mountains that could possibly inspire others who may have felt disempowered to step up and climb their mountain.      

Go to Epilepsy SA Website for more information

 

Thursday
Apr212016

Climbing, Biking and Becoming a Better Me - Lets get started!

     

It’s been a while since my last entry but I've been rather busy with to hustle and bustle of life. I'm currently a full-time student at the University of Cape Town and I'm going to be here for a good couple of years- which is scary! 

I've been fortunate enough to live out my passion and travel to some superb places while promoting my cause, MyKape. Nonetheless, it feels like a lifetime ago since I was trudging up Mt. Kenya or floating around on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Since I returned from South America in August 2014, I have been studying law, with my hope to use this to assist NGO'S in the future as well as working in the middle of the central Karoo on the Karoo Predator Project. On top of all of that, I finally found a girlfriend, Marine, which was some kind of a relief for my family! Living in the Karoo, working on an incredible project and studying really kept me busy. Since mid-2015, I moved back to Cape Town where I got stuck back into climbing after a year off.

With all of that going on, the fire to do the next trip to a far-flung destination with pointy peaks and a project has been growing in ferocity. I'd love to get back into a boat and head off, however, my sights are set on climbs, projects and places far more unique and beyond my current ability. When I started my adventures I was really young and naive. The climbs I did were impressive for my age and I built some kind of name for myself due mainly to my unique KAPE 2 Expeditions that included epilepsy awareness and environmental projects. 

Today, I'm not hat old but I'm 22 years old and I know I have to become better at what makes me, me. My community work and my awareness projects, my climbing and becoming a lot more skilled across the board is something I need to work on. By the time the next BIG expedition comes I want it to be more effective and more impressive. I want the programs in the communities that we work in to be up-to-date, to the point and enrich, upskill and improve the lives of those who we connect with. In my climbing and mountaineering life, I want to climb harder, be wiser and feel the walls and reach the summits of mountains that I have dreamed constantly about for a year. I’ve had a great introduction and know I need to make it better! 

I have, however already started and this is what I've come up with so far: 

  • I'm working my arse off at Uni (and loving it) 
  • I'm still studying Spanish and I've started French (Marine has been a star at making my life difficult in another language- I'm very grateful, though)
  • I've planned a cycle touring to the Kalahari in June. It’s called KAPE 2 KALAHARI! 
  • I've started training with one of the best rock climbers in South Africa and one of the boldest free soloists on the planet, Matt Bush. 530am starts! 
  • I'm also still working, sporadically for the KPP

 I'm writing about this now because now I'm accountable ;) 

Also, I'd like to share how anything worth doing takes a lot of hard work and passion. There's a little bit of luck involved but it all comes down to hard work and wanting to do more.