Legally blind at 13 and con­fined to a wheel­chair to now look­ing to tackle the world’s high­est peak Ris­ing to the great­est chal­lenge

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

MUL­TI­PLE scle­ro­sis suf­ferer Bobby Ba­jram will step up his prepa­ra­tions for climb­ing Mt Ever­est dur­ing the Falls Creek win­ter.

The Falls Creek Re­sort am­bas­sador will look to sum­mit the world’s high­est moun­tain next year and only af­ter at­tempt­ing to reach the South Col, just be­low Mt Ever­est in Septem­ber.

Ba­jram is hop­ing to be the first MS suf­ferer to sum­mit the monster moun­tain.

His story has been one of con­stant chal­lenges.

Ba­jram is the youngest per­son to be di­ag­nosed with MS in Aus­tralia.

At the age of 13 he was legally blind and in a wheel­chair.

Af­ter spend­ing five years in and out of blind­ness, he spent a fur­ther nine years in­ter­mit­tently con­fined to a wheel­chair and for the rest of his life will rely on a walk­ing stick dur­ing the on­go­ing re­lapses of MS.

Now Ba­jram has 60-70 per cent of his vi­sion and has his weight down to 81kg af­ter at one stage weigh­ing al­most dou­ble that.

He has been vis­it­ing Falls Creek dur­ing the sum­mer and win­ter months over the past three years to train for his epic trip.

“Falls Creek ter­rain and al­ti­tude is the ideal lo­ca­tion for me to pre­pare for my treks,” he said.

“The em­ploy­ees and lo­cals are re­ally wel­com­ing and are like fam­ily.”

Falls Creek Re­sort Man­age­ment chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Smythe said Ba­jram had been ap­pointed an hon­orary am­bas­sador for the re­sort.

“This will help him share his story and more importantly to as­sist him with his al­ti­tude train­ing in the lead up to his as­sault on Ever­est,” he said.

“Bobby has an in­domitable spirit, one that has seen him deal with the chal­lenges of MS on a daily ba­sis. His fo­cus and en­ergy on show­ing oth­ers how this dis­ease is not an im­ped­i­ment to con­quer­ing your dreams is in­spi­ra­tional, to all.

“Falls Creek is proud to be able to as­sist Bobby in his train­ing. It is a ‘whole of moun­tain’ ef­fort, with many lo­cal busi­nesses, vol­un­teers and the gen­eral pub­lic sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing him.

“Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary said ‘it is not the moun­tain we con­quer, but our­selves’ … Bobby has proven his abil­ity to con­quer ad­ver­sity in the form of MS. He is now set­ting his am­bi­tion a lit­tle bit higher.”

Falls Creek Re­sort Man­age­ment’s Jo Prothero said in or­der to take his train­ing up a step, in prepa­ra­tion for his trip to the South Col in Septem­ber, Dis­abled Win­ter­sport Aus­tralia vol­un­teers will be of­fer­ing guided sup­port when Ba­jram was in Falls Creek train­ing.

“The vol­un­teers will trek with Bobby over the com­ing months to pro­vide sup­port and en­sure he is in the best shape pos­si­ble to take on his next chal­lenge,” she said.

“In October 2015, Bobby took on Mera Peak, at 6461m this is the next of the smaller Nepal Hi­malaya peaks, and has pre­vi­ously climbed Kala Patthar.

“All go­ing to plan Bobby plans to sum­mit Mt Ever­est in 2017.”

Prothero said Ba­jram had set him­self the task of reach­ing the peak of Mt Ever­est to show that the dis­ease does not rule his life and also to raise dis­abil­ity aware­ness and en­cour­age those with dis­abil­i­ties to take ac­tion in or­der to im­prove them­selves.

“Bobby’s quest is to raise aware­ness and funds for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and their ca­reers,” she said.

“Importantly Bobby wants to show that Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis doesn’t rule his life and to en­cour­age oth­ers with dis­abil­i­ties to take ac­tion in or­der to im­prove their qual­ity of life.

“He also aims to put to­gether a $100 mil­lion trust fund for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and var­i­ous sup­port groups to give them the as­sis­tance and care they reg­u­larly need.”

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