Sam to re­alise hik­ing dreams

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER

LIFE in a wheel­chair has not re­stricted Sam King’s sense of ad­ven­ture.

The 10-year-old swims, cy­cles on his hand-ped­alled bike, kayaks and par­tic­i­pates in fun runs.

But life with para­ple­gia has meant that Sam has never re­alised a long-held dream: hik­ing in Tas­ma­nia’s great out­doors.

“I’ve never bush­walked be­fore and I’d like to see the trees, the birds and the na­ture,” Sam said.

That dream is about to be­come a re­al­ity, with a team of fam­ily and friends or­gan­is­ing to carry Sam across the 50km Three Capes Track on the Tas­man Penin­sula.

The group will take turns car­ry­ing 25kg Sam in a back­pack, al­low­ing his fam­ily to hike to­gether for the first time.

The walk has also be­come a fundraiser, aimed at rais­ing $20,000 for Va­ri­ety the Chil­dren’s Char­ity Tas­ma­nia and its work help­ing chil­dren with sick­ness, dis­ad­van­tage or liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity.

Sam’s mum He­len King said he was a typ­i­cal boy: full of en­ergy.

“He just wants to be ac­tive all the time and out­doors,” she said.

The fam­ily, from How­den, of­ten bush­walks on Mt Well- in­g­ton/ku­nanyi, but Sam had never been able to join in.

Mrs King said Sam, who has para­ple­gia from the chest down, had de­vel­oped amaz­ing up­per body strength and de­ter­mi­na­tion.

And while he is al­ways keen to take on any chal­lenge, his bush­walk­ing ex­pe­ri­ence has been lim­ited to hours spent scru­ti­n­is­ing fam­ily pho­tos and walk­ing maps.

“He thinks he can do any­thing but bush­walk­ing is the one thing he has never been able to do,” Mrs King said.

The idea for the Three Capes walk and fundraiser fol­lowed a hike Mrs King did across the Over­land Track ear­lier this year with friend Sharon Ashlin.

“We were walk­ing to­gether and I told Sharon: ‘I’m do­ing this for Sam, be­cause he’s never go­ing to be able to do it’.”

Mrs King said she took pho­tos of the walk and kept the maps so Sam could trace the jour­ney at home.

“A few weeks af­ter the walk Sharon con­tacted me and said: ‘I’m go­ing to make it hap­pen for you’.”

Mrs Ashlin, who is or­gan­is­ing the crew to carry Sam and has started the fundraiser, said Sam was an amaz­ing kid.

“We are in­spired by Sam, his fam­ily and their at­ti­tude to life, that noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble,” Mrs Ashlin said.

Mrs King said she was ex­cited about the walk with Sam, planned for March next year, and the chance to give to Va­ri­ety.

“Not only are we go­ing to have that ex­pe­ri­ence for our­selves but help so many other fam­i­lies,” she said.


e are in­spired by Sam, his fam­ily and their at­ti­tude to life, that noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble. SHARON ASHLIN, FAM­ILY FRIEND


DE­TER­MINED: He­len King, of How­den, says her son Sam, 10, is de­ter­mined to lead an ac­tive life­style.

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