Sam to realise hiking dreams
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.