Martin Hibbert, a supporter of Manchester United, accomplished a stunning accomplishment earlier today by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro despite having suffered a paralyzing blast at the city’s arena in 2017.
When a bolt severed Hibbert’s spinal cord, the now 45-year-old was told he would never be able to walk again. Nevertheless, despite his permanently altering wounds, he decided to collect money for the Spinal Injuries Association because, in his own words, the organization provided him hope, confidence, and useful skills.
His ambitious climb was planned for the highest peak in Africa, and he spent the last two years getting ready for it.
Hibbert set off on his expedition in a wheelchair that had been specifically adapted, and with the aid of his support team, he succeeded in becoming just the second paraplegic to reach the top.
Martin, a lifelong Red devils supporter, celebrated his incredible accomplishment by taking a photo on top of the mountain with the United States flag.
Don’t write off someone because they’re in a wheelchair, he told BBC News in an interview after the climb. Take a look at what they can do with the correct assistance and backing. They are able to scale Mount Kilimanjaro.
“People with disabilities can essentially accomplish everything they want to. Hopefully, once they realize it, people would accept disability rather than reject it.
The unfortunate Machester Arena Bombing
On Monday, May 22, 2017, Ariana Grande performed in the Manchester Arena in front of about 14,000 people.
Tragically, 22 individuals didn’t make it home that night, and hundreds more were hurt. With nearly 20 shrapnel bolts entering his body at 90 mph, Martin Hibbert, who was at the event, was among those who suffered life-altering injuries.
The Salford Major Trauma Unit was able to save Hibbert and his daughter’s life, but because his spine had been severed, he was informed that he would never be able to walk again. Hibbert was determined to use his story to motivate others after enduring a 14-hour procedure.
A little more than five years after the assault, Hibbert used a wheelchair to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing peak in the world and the tallest mountain in Africa. The second paraplegic to finish the climb is Hibbert.
This is the account of Hibbert’s incredible tenacity and his will to face crushing hardship head-on.
Hibbert just recently returned to the UK when he decided to talk about his experience in Tanzania. The man, who was born in Bolton, has had several inquiries from the media, and for good reason—his tale is extraordinary.
Hibbert’s background was the topic of the first exchange. Hibbert has loved Manchester United for as long as he can remember. His mother is a pharmacist, his father was a police officer. He exudes an obvious and contagious love for United.
Hibbert laughed as he recalled that Gary Bailey was the first signature he had received. Hibbert grew up admiring Jesper Olsen, Gordon Strachan, Bryan Robson, and Gary Bailey. “I’ll never forget my debut game at United in 1983 when we defeated Watford 2-0. I was addicted “stated Hibbert. It felt unique and special since in many of my younger photos, all I’m wearing is a Man United shirt.
Growing up, Hibbert’s enthusiasm for United persisted throughout his life. He also said that, after suffering life-altering injuries in the 2017 arena assault, he often donned the team’s jerseys in images of himself at Salford Royal.
His severe wounds were compared to those of someone who had been shot 22 times at point-blank range. Hibbert was told he wouldn’t be able to walk again after surviving the assault, and it was at this point that he met Gary Dawson, who had had a spinal cord damage in a motorbike accident 19 years prior.
The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), which aims to be the go-to destination for everyone impacted by spinal cord injury to assist individuals in rehabilitation, employed Dawson, an Oldham resident, as a peer support officer. Hibbert claimed that meeting Dawson instantly altered his perspective.
Hibbert remarked, “We simply bonded right immediately. “The only thing I can recall is Gary telling me that, despite the fact that I was in a dreadful situation and was being told I would never be able to walk normally again, my life was my own fault. I could relate to it.
“I honestly don’t know where I would be if he hadn’t spoken to me that day. I intended to return the favor after I was discharged from the hospital.
I helped SIA out a little bit, and finally, I was made a trustee.
Hibbert started his fundraising efforts and was successful in his appeal to the October Club, a group of affluent people who annually select a charity to raise half a million pounds for. At their charity gala, Hibbert commanded quietly.
“I distinctly recall one of the guys approaching me and saying, “I’ve attended these events for 20 years, and I’ve never heard the room more hushed. You had some of the richest people in the nation in the palm of your hand. Hibbert declared, “I’ll never forget that.
How do you raise more money than £500,000? Hibbert joked with his family and friends when he said he would climb Kilimanjaro.
Hibbert stated, “I wanted to do basecamp on Mount Everest but it came back that it was impossible. “Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was the second-hardest task, so I suggested we do it. Many risk analyses were conducted to determine whether it could be done.
“I’ve visited the hospital five or six times in total. Even while being an hour from the hospital has been difficult, being in Tanzania and high up a mountain just makes matters worse. People expressed concern and worry that I was exerting too much pressure.
As part of his preparation for the Kilimanjaro climb, Hibbert practiced ascending mountains in his modified wheelchair all throughout the United Kingdom. He maintained a rigorous training schedule, put in many hours in the gym, and had to prepare by working out in high-altitude chambers.
Only eight weeks before to an expedition may you conduct high-altitude training, according to Hibbert. “We visited Fitness Evolution in Burnley, and they have cutting-edge facilities. To simulate the shortage of oxygen and altitude, they had an altitude chamber.
“We worked out in the chamber to simulate circumstances and reduced oxygen to 11%. On Mount Kilimanjaro, it was 10%.
Hibbert was finally prepared for the climb, and on Sunday, June 5, his company took a flight to Tanzania to begin climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, rising 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level.
Hibbert said, “I had a squad of 12 sherpas around me and it was four at any given moment. “Every half-hour or hour, they would change. These individuals were incredible. One of these men was wearing sweatpants and sneakers while I was dressed in all this nice mountain gear.
“At the bottom, it was 30 degrees Celsius, and at the summit, it may be as cold as minus 10.
From the jungle, we moved on to six-foot boulders, enormous rocks, ash, shale, and volcanic ash. It was clear that we spent the nights in sleeping bags and tents.
“Skin tensions were a concern for me; if you get a pressure sore, it’s game over. Chris Patton, a member of my team, was tasked with inspecting my skin. There was a significant risk of infection, but there were individuals nearby who were watching out for me.”
The ascent was psychologically and physically taxing. On day two, Hibbert’s closest buddy had to turn back, and on day four, another member of his crew had to do the same. Hibbert said, “The tents are chilly overnight, and you’re not eating what you would ordinarily.”
“You consume a lot of carbohydrates while attempting to consume calories. I think I slept for one to two hours every night. You awaken in the same clothes from yesterday, exhausted and chilly, and you have to go right away.”
Hibbert was not going to give in to the difficulty. He stated, “I’d sit and look at the mountain every night before I went to bed.” “You’re mine; hurl everything at me, but you won’t succeed in beating me, I would think as I sat for 20 minutes and stared at it.
“I was by myself on the peak day. The night before we reached the peak, I had trouble sleeping, so I had to turn on the light in my tent.
I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t fall asleep and for the first time in my life, I was terrified.
“That was probably the lowest point; there were plenty of tears, and I simply realized why I was there. I also remembered that I had my mother’s ashes with me, which I intended to scatter at the summit. I didn’t want to let my mother down, so that kept me going.
I felt like I’d let everyone down if I gave up since my mother was with me and we had been conversing on the trip up.
On the fifth day of his 100-hour ascent of Kilimanjaro, Hibbert was finally in a position to reach the peak. He needed to rely on the same fortitude that helped him go through his recuperation since he was psychologically and physically drained.
Hibbert tried to describe how he felt when he reached the summit even though he acknowledged it was difficult to describe. There was nothing left in the tank when he stated, “You get up there and you’ve got no energy, my arms were gone.”
“If there was a gasoline light on my body, it was blinking up top. Due to oxygen limitations, you can only stay up there for 20 minutes. After accomplishing your goals at the top, you realize that you must descend because the descent is as challenging.
“While everyone in my immediate vicinity was rejoicing, there were two things I wanted to accomplish. They served as a little memorial ceremony for my mother, and I scattered her ashes at the summit. I also wanted a photo with my United States flag. It was quite upsetting.
“To be at the summit of this mountain has taken around two and a half years of my life. I’m the second paraplegic to do it. With the correct assistance and support, handicapped persons may do the seemingly impossible, as I had done and demonstrated to everyone around me.
I was experiencing a range of emotions, including sobbing and laughing. They probably initially believed I had altitude sickness since I would cry one minute and rejoice the next. Because it’s so silent up there, it was a weird experience with all kinds of various feelings.
“Getting up and down took around 12 hours, which was difficult given the circumstances.
Once we reached the bottom of the mountain, I simply lacked the energy to get out of my chair and take off my clothes.”
Before ascending the mountain, Hibbert spoke with the BBC, and Manchester United afterward contacted him. The team gave him an autographed shirt, let him conduct a live interview at Old Trafford, and collected some words from the players.
Hibbert’s desire to carry his Manchester United flag up Kilimanjaro is revealing of his love for the team. “Next season, they [United] want me to appear in front of the crowd before one of the games, and that will be really exciting. I’ve been coming here since I was six, so it will be really emotional.
“Having them engaged was incredibly unique since they presumably receive so many requests every day. Even today, I still get butterflies before going to Old Trafford and still get dressed the night before. It is my pride, my passion, and my life, no matter where they are.
“Man United are my life, and I’ve seen most of the globe watching them. I don’t smoke, and I don’t really drink. I have seen them win FA Cups, League Cups, Champions Leagues, and Premier Leagues when I was present in 1999, Russia, Rome, and Wembley.
“Watching United helped me get through a really tough period while I was in the spinal unit because I didn’t believe I’d be able to do it again.
When I’m at United, I completely forget myself; nothing else matters. Together with the club, I’ve experienced a lot, and they’ve helped me improve.
“They provided me with something to aim for. I suppose no other club has this amazing club, and I adore it. To me, it’s more than simply a football team; it’s everything. It means the world to me, more so than my wife and children.”
To date, Hibbert’s climb of Kilimanjaro has helped SIA raise an astounding sum of more than £550,000. However, the climb is about more than just raising £1 million for the organization. Through his tale, Hibbert hopes to alter the environment for disadvantaged people.
Hibbert said, “I call it my Marcus Rashford moment. “I’ll be honest—I had no idea that there were starving children in the UK when Marcus ran his campaign last year. I was really impressed by him and very proud of him for achieving it.
“When I started working as a trustee at SIA, I assumed that everyone received the same affection and support as I did. I believed you visited a reputable spinal unit and hospital. Only one in three persons who suffer a spinal injury receive the assistance and support I did; seven people every day.
“Like Rashford, I was startled, disappointed, and irritated and I wanted to alter it.
With the Kilimanjaro endeavor, I believed I would attract attention since I would be doing something that wheelchair users cannot accomplish.
I intended to ignite a revolution. I’ll have to climb mountains to accomplish the next step, which is securing societal change and legislation.
“I hope that my legacy is that everyone with a spinal cord injury has the care and assistance they require to live a complete life.”
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