We couldn’t choose between two of our amazing supporters and so we have joint Fundraisers of the Month for August – Alex Brooke-Turner, who hand cycled from Belgium to Croatia, and Dipti Shah, who took on the Three Peaks Challenge.

Alex has raised an incredible £7,544 for Aspire, just three years after his injury.  Says Alex, “This August, I set out with four friends to complete a journey we started three years ago, which was interrupted by me falling off my bicycle and breaking my back, sustaining a spinal cord injury which left me paralysed from the waist down.  Our goal was to cycle (on bicycles and a hand cycle) from Belgium to Croatia, whilst raising money and awareness for Aspire.

We started from the campsite in Belgium where three years earlier my accident had taken place.  Over the next 20 days, our journey took us through 10 countries and over 2000 kilometres, before finishing the trip by climbing Mont Ventoux starting in Bédoin.

Overall, 12 friends were involved in the trip, each playing their own part by cycling, supporting or driving.  We camped every night and cycled through all kinds of weather, ranging from sweltering heat to sub-zero temperatures, torrential rain and even a hailstorm.  Our journey took us along rivers, over mountain tops, through countless fields and over some pretty difficult terrain.  We encountered many problems along the way, but none to difficult to overcome.

A trip that started off as a joke (having told my friends whilst in intensive care that we would still cycle to Croatia) has become a reality.  It was definitely a challenge, but thoroughly enjoyable and one of the best experiences of my life.  I am glad to have been able to help Aspire along the way.”

Our second fundraiser of the month is Dipti Shah. Dipti and her brother Hetal were inspired to take on The Three Peaks Challenge after their father Raj sustained a spinal cord injury in July 2013. 

After two months in a general hospital, Raj was transferred to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital for three months of rehab.  From being an active man, Raj was suddenly reliant on a wheelchair with restricted mobility in his arms, reliant on his wife to help him with everyday tasks.  Dipti says, “Dad is an extremely kind and generous man, his courage is infectious, through this ordeal he never stopped smiling and taking each day with as much conviction as the last.  Today he continues his rehab and has not given up the hope of living as independently as possible.”

Dipti and Hetal were joined by cousin Jay and friends Sejal and Manisha for the challenge.  So why did they decide on the Three Peaks, climbing the highest peaks in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon) in 24 hours?  “We wanted a challenge!  Nothing will come close to what our dad has to go through every day, but if he is trying to get as close to his old life as possible, we figured we would try and climb – for him and Aspire.”

Dipti and her family, including her dad, came to visit Aspire recently to present a cheque for an incredible £6,773.50!  Says Dipti, “The Three Peaks Challenge was extremely tough.  Nothing could prepare us for the physical strength and endurance needed, not to mention the perseverance though the lack of sleep and muscle fatigue.  We are glad we did it and glad we raised so much money for aspire, but NEVER again!"

If you are interested in taking part in a challenge to raise money for Aspire, please contact Hannah Wyatt on 020 8420 6731 or email hannah.wyatt@aspire.org.uk

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