Paralympian’s Fundraising Push celebrated

| 04/03/2014

(CNS): Tourism officials presented internationally renowned paralympian Ryan Chalmers with a replica of his racing wheelchair made from local mahogany and caymanite by craftsman Horacio Esteban, recently, to mark his fundraising efforts and for putting Cayman in the spotlight. Chalmers returned to the Cayman Islands this week almost a year after he began his epic Push Across America in April, 2013 from Los Angeles. He pushed his racing wheelchair for a gruelling 3,321 miles across the entire United States of America, arriving 71 days later on 15th June, in New York’s Central Park.

The challenge was undertaken to raise funds and awareness for Stay-Focused, a non-profit  organization dedicated to providing teens with disabilities the opportunity to become certified scuba divers in the Cayman Islands. After learning to scuba dive in Cayman through the program in 2005, Chalmers remained active with the organisation, serving as a mentor and guiding other youngsters as they learned to scuba dive. Through the programme he has retained close ties with the Cayman Islands over the past nine years and considers it his home away from home. 

“I did the Push for the right reasons and at the right time in my life,” Chalmers said as he thanked those who helped. “One of the lessons we articulate in our programme is that no matter what challenges you face in life, if you stay focused, you can overcome them. That was the thought that motivated me to keep going on the journey and it is the motto that I try to live by.”

During the crossing Chalmers was interviewed by CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, and coverage of his journey was carried by major news outlets, including CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX NEWS, reaching an audience of 263 Million people and was worth an estimated $5.6M.

Stay-focused is dependent on the generosity of sponsors, and works closely with local organisations that provide invaluable on-Island support for the programme including Red Sail Sports and the Marriott group.

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