A determined youngster defied his disability and against all odds reached the top of a Munro in a wheelchair.
Alex Medley lives with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, a rare genetic disorder, and has never walked unaided.
But recently a group of kind-hearted volunteers worked tirelessly to get the 12-year-old to the summit of Ben Lomond using a specially designed wheelchair called a Joelette.
It took volunteers from the charity Joelette and People Experiences (Japes) seven and a half hours to carry the Perthshire school boy to the top.
It is the first time the charity wheelchair has been taken off road.
Parents Philip, 54, an IT consultant and Sam, 51, who volunteers with a variety of charities, are both keen walkers.
It has been their dream to climb a Munro with son Alex and daughter Charlotte, 9.
Sam said: “We have always wanted to get Alex up a Munro.
“Philip and I were keen hillwalkers before having kids and it was always a dream to get both Alex and his younger sister Charlotte up a mountain as a family – one we never thought would be realised.”
A team of five super fit volunteers loaded Alex into the Joelette and started the 13km walk last Sunday (Aug 13).
Sam said: “Seeing Alex and his younger sister Charlotte make it up the Munro really did make us feel on top of the world.
“From our family’s perspective, getting to the top, and back down again, was a fantastic experience.
“Watching each and every one of the team work together to get Alex to the top was extremely humbling.
“Throughout the seven and a half hours it took to do Ben Lomond, the Japes team worked tirelessly to ensure we as a family could make the summit.”
At the top, the family and crew were met with cheering and clapping from others on the summit, which Sam said made the experience extra special.
She said: “When we were near the top, the crowd of people who were already at the summit all started clapping and shouting words of encouragement – a great moment to remember.”
Now, Alex and sister Charlotte have the Munro bug and already want to make plans to do another.
Sam added: “We can’t thank Japes, the fantastic team and especially Nelson enough for helping us achieve something that seemed impossible.
“It showed us how, with the help of others and a lot of determination, having a disability doesn’t need to be a barrier to getting out and experiencing different aspects of life.
“Another thing ticked off the bucket list.”
Japes is a non-profit social inclusion project that aims to allow people of all ages who live with mobility challenges to experience running events.
Alex first got involved with Japes as a pilot completing the first 8 miles of the Stirling Marathon using the Joelette.
Leave a Reply