Imagine a normal weekend where you head out on the Mountain Biking (MTB) trails with your mates to get some fresh air, exercise, just loving being out there doing something that you were passionate about and to have fun.
In late 2008, this was Andrew Liddawi’s weekend. He was a relatively new, but keen mountain biker heading out on the trails in a well known MTB area in Queensland. From how Andrew tells the story, the day was a pretty unremarkable one. They had been hitting some pretty sweet dirt along the way and were moving forward to some more challenging parts of the trails.
Unfortunately this is where things didn’t go to plan and what happened next resulted in Andrew being permanently and completely paralysed from the waist down.
Like all the wheelchair athletes I work with, Andrew is so upbeat and positive and he is very quick to point out that he HATES the word impossible. I don’t blame him.
He is out to show people that just because you are in a wheelchair or carry a disability of some description that it doesn’t mean you can’t be out there being active. As a regular member of the Perth Wheelcats Wheelchair Basketball team Andrew is already quite active but he has an outstanding goal to achieve.
Earlier this year Andrew launched his new website Break the Boundary which has the vision “To help people with physical disabilities go beyond flat surfaces, out of their comfort zone, and into off-road areas around Australia which they thought were inaccessible.”
Andrew’s goal is to get back out there and finish that trail with his mates and is intending to do so on a custom-made off-road handcycle.
What is even more exciting about this is that Andrew is going to be one of the first Aussies with a disability to take ownership of one of these bikes giving him the ability to bring this new-to-disabilities sport to others.
I am also honoured to be involved in photographing this unbelievable feat when he does go back to the trail and beat it down on his new toy with his mates. That full story will come later in the year, but for the meantime I managed to sneak a few pics of Andrew on the trails around his home.
If you wish to support Andrew in raising funds for his cause please head to his website.