Walk 4 Wheels 2013

Bruce McClunan

South AfricaOn the 1st of April 2011, fellow pilot and friend, Bruce McClunan, took off from Bulwer Mountain in KwaZulu Natal. Seconds later his neck broke on impact with the mountain. Bruce had accidentally stalled his glider on launch. Life changed forever.

Trapped in his body, only able to move his eyelids to communicate, this once vital man was mercifully released from his prison eight days later.

One year into the future, on 31 March 2012, I experienced my own paragliding crash in NSW, Australia, breaking my spine in two places.  The Leap Year saved me from becoming another cruel April Fool's joke. As I lay there groaning, Bruce's memory flashed before me. I gingerly moved my toes.... I COULD MOVE MY TOES!!! The Accident.

Keeping my spine immobile, I twitched my extremities, one by one. My spinal nerves were sending messages which were being received and actioned. Relief. Keeping my spine as still as possible with first response assistance, I disconnected myself from my glider which was threatening to drag me. Had I not realised that I was badly hurt, instead sitting up and walking, the doctor said my life would be very different today. A vertebra had burst, another chipped and compressed. The splinters pressing up hard against the nerve canal. But because I did not move, the thin membrane between walking and paralysis remained intact.

My Recovery (read posts by FLYGIRL) was remarkable, a case study discussed at an international congress of surgeons for the treatment of spinal injury. Having come so closed to landing my bum in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I am grateful for being spared. Very grateful. For others not so fortunate, it is in Bruce McClunan's memory that I dedicate this 'Walk 4 Wheels'.

The Walk 4 Wheels goal is to raise funds to buy QUAD RUGBY WHEELCHAIRS for the Western Cape EAGLES QUADRIPLEGIC WHEELCHAIR RUGBY TEAM.

Quadriplegics have a range of movement from the blinking of eyelids only, to limited movement of the upper body including arms, to some very limited movement of all four limbs.

Taking part in wheelchair rugby promotes well being through the players being motivated to learn to do things for themselves e.g. improving what muscle strength they have and co-ordination; encouraging them take an active part in life, learning to cook, drive a hand controlled car,  work and to remain involved in society.

Wheelchair rugby ignites PASSION. PASSION for the game. PASSION for LIFE.

Rugby Wheelchairs. A locally made entry level rugby wheelchair costs R28 000. An internationally engineered competition Melrose Rhino Wheelchair costs R60 000. Better equipment influences better results.

The Eagles are self funded and receive almost no help from the South African government. Without backing and in battered, borrowed and hand-me-down equipment, the Eagles must face off the better equipped Mustangs from the Free State, Tuks from Gauteng, Bullfrogs from the Eastern Cape and the Stallions from KwaZulu Natal. The South African National Rankings have the Eagles at the bottom of the log. Transport, equipment and a suitable place to train are their biggest hurdles.

The Eagles could do with some help.

International Wheelchair Rugby has Australia ranked at #1 in the world and South Africa last. Regular competition and a Melrose competition wheelchair gives a quadriplegic player the competitive edge in sport to be the best he or she can be. The South African teams need more exposure to playing the game and that requires access to transport, training facilities and better equipment tailored to the individuals strengths.

In November this year, South Africa is hosting the Asia-Oceania Championships in Pretoria. South African players will have the opportunity to play, watch and dare to dream of competing in London in two years time.


My heartfelt thanks to these supporters of who donated with such open hearts to this wheelchair fund whilst I was walking the Canning Stock Route. You lifted my spirits and gave my legs strength to keep on walking.

During the walk, R9500 was raised, another R500 donated by my hairstylist and friend, Frank Fowden in the first week of my return to South Africa.  A further R50 000 is required to make one competition wheelchair a reality. Can you make a difference? The answer is YES!

Donate now. A little bit from a lot of people goes a long way. You are the difference!

Account name: Eagles Wheelchair Rugby Team
Branch name: FNB Epping
Branch Code: 200810
Account number: 62198547162
Currency: ZAR


CELL:  073 153 0094
TEL:    021 697 4991
FAX:    088 021 697 4991
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Australia Australian Supporters of The Eagles Quad Rugby Wheelchair Fund (AUD)
30 David and Vicki Cass and Ronnie and Bernie Cass from Talbingo, NSW at Well 49 started it all off on our supply run
20 Helen and Brian Warden of Adelaide, SA near Well 51
20 Peter and Sue O'Shaunessy, Benalla, Victoria, near Well 35
10 Alan and Heather Duncan, of Melbourne, Victoria @ Well 33
10 Kay and John Deane of Lonhorne Creek, SA, @ Well 33
50 Tony Cooper of Rutherglen, Victoria, south of Well 32
20 Darcy and Riss of Tumut, NSW, south of Well 32
20 Greg and Angela Harders, Rutherglen, Victoria, south of Well 32
20 Tom and Gail of 'F' Troop from Perth, north of Well 26
? Trevor and Vic (to verify)  of 'F' Troop from Perth, north of Well 26
7 Selwyn  of 'F' Troop, north of Well 26
20 Bill Allison of 'F' Troop, north of Well 26
5 Jon Miller  of'F' Troop, north of Well 26
10 Malcolm of Arrorat, Vic @ Well 26
100 Ron and Jude McKinnon and Sandy and Brandon Taylors of Perth, @ Georgia Bore
40 Margaret McArdle, Sydney, NSW near Well 21
50 Maureen Watt, Ipswitch Green Nomads @ Well 21
10 Roslyn Slater, Goulbourne, NSW, north of Savory Creek
10 Mick and Mary-Anne Sharman of Arrawarra, NSW, north of Savory Creek
20 Colin Mawbey of Sydney, NSW, north of Savory Creek
20 Liz and Bob Rosevear, Sydney, NSW, north of Savory Creek
220 Brad Roberts, Tony and Bernie Ferguson, Trevor and Di Downie, Kath and John Webb, Linton and Cheryl Stockey, Rob and Gayle Coxheil,Jeff and Bev Roberts, Kristy Dickenson, Jen and Wayne Buckley, Peter and Judy Johnson, all of Victoria, @ south of Well 17
50 Snowy Crimeen, Don and Terry Guy of Ballerat, Vic @ Well 12
200 Bob and Mary Sutcliffe, Boy-Up-Brook, WA @ Well 2
10 Marie, an elderly lady I met at Dome coffee shop in Kalgoorlie who recognised the Canning Walker from the Kalminer Newspaper article
972 TOTAL as of 10 Oct 2013 (Approximately R9 110)
 South African Supporters of The Eagles Quad Rugby Wheelchair Fund (ZAR)
190 A Coct Ven
200 Laura Nelson
500 Frank Fowden

ON 19 NOVEMBER 2013, R10 000 WAS TRANSFERRED into the account of the Eagles Wheelchair Rugby Team courtesy of the Canning Walker Supporters.

Thank you to Everyone who stepped up and did something within their power to improve the lives of total strangers.

In doing something for others, with no thought for benefiting directly in return, we soften the rough edges of our world, making it a gentler place to live in....

Due to the nature of their injuries and less than minimal government support, The Eagles will always be in need of money to help them buy equipment and provide for transport to compete around the country. Their account details are above...


The Canning Walker's Challenge for 2013

End of the CSR for Gaynor Schoeman Canning Walker

Starting from Billiluna in the north near Halls Creek on 31 May 2013, Gaynor Schoeman walked 1657km solo for 66 days, carrying a backpack of 30kg, finishing on the 05 August 2013 in the tiny outback goldfields town of Wiluna.

Gaynor was raising money for quadriplegic wheelchair rugby players under the banner Walk 4 Wheels and Walk 4 Wings in memory of hangglider pilot and friend, Bruce McClunan, who broke his neck on 1st April 2011.

Many class this walk as unsupported, done in a similar way as the first successful walkers lead by Murray Rankin in 1976.

Whilst I did not walk with vehicle support, or with another person, without the help of Andy Sutcliffe in establishing my supply route before the walk, and my food sponsors, this walk would not have been possible.  For this reason I class my 2013 desert walk only as SOLO .... by my own standards. Media interviews - TV, Radio, Newspapers and Magazines.


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