Head­ing for the heights

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS LEE

JOR­DON Mil­roy has proved the sky’s the limit af­ter con­quer­ing the Sky Tower’s 1029 stairs, and now he has the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge in his sights.

The 23-year-old plans to climb the 45-me­tre tall, 1020-me­tre­long bridge to raise aware­ness as part of World Cere­bral Palsy Day on Oc­to­ber 2.

Mr Mil­roy was born with a se­vere form of the con­di­tion that af­fects his mus­cle tone, move­ment and mo­tor skills.

He uses a wheel­chair and walker to get around day-to-day but leaves his dis­abil­ity at the bot­tom step when he climbs, he says.

‘‘I just love push­ing my­self to the limit. I’m proud to have cere­bral palsy and I love spread­ing aware­ness from the top of tall things.

‘‘For years peo­ple have known me as the dis­abled guy but now I’m known as the guy who climbs awe­some things. I get to in­spire peo­ple along the way and they in­spire me as well.’’

The cen­tral Auck­land stu­dent climbed 192 me­tres to the ob­ser­va­tion deck of the Sky Tower last year to raise money to send wheelchairs to Samoa where he was born, ( Auck­land City Har­bour News, April 4, 2012).

The wheelchairs are spe­cially de­signed for rugged con­di­tions to help those liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties in Pa­cific Is­land com­mu­ni­ties.

He says reach­ing the top of the tower was an un­real feel­ing.

‘‘It was my goal for over a year and to be able to achieve it was re­ally sur­real. I used to look at the Sky Tower for about three months af­ter and go ‘ wow I can’t be­lieve I climbed it’.’’

There are now 15 wheelchairs on their way to Samoa thanks to his ef­forts.

He jumped at the chance to take on a new project when the Cere­bral Palsy So­ci­ety asked him to do some­thing ‘‘epic’’ to mark the in­ter­na­tional aware­ness day.

He ad­mits he has some nerves about brav­ing the el­e­ments for the bridge climb.

But his train­ing and can-do at­ti­tude will get him through, he says.

Mr Mil­roy is used to throw­ing him­self in the deep end when it comes to his own goals.

A solo trip across the United States last sum­mer forced the peo­ple he met to re­alise peo­ple with cere­bral palsy can be in­de­pen­dent.

‘‘Cere­bral palsy is a good con­ver­sa­tion starter,’’ he says.

‘‘Peo­ple al­ways want to help me but as soon as they get to know me they know I can do stuff on my own.’’

A month-long cy­cling trip around New Zealand is next on his list and con­quer­ing the world’s tallest build­ing in Dubai is one of his long-term goals.

His de­ter­mi­na­tion and work in the com­mu­nity has earned Mr Mil­roy a spot as a youth fi­nal­ist at the 2013 At­ti­tude Awards which cel­e­brate the achieve­ments of dis­abled New Zealan­ders.

Awards trustee Dan Buck­ing­ham says that each year the at­ti­tude team sees peo­ple push­ing them­selves to achieve.

‘‘Th­ese awards are about chang­ing per­cep­tions,’’ Mr Buck­ing­ham says.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has gifts and abil­i­ties, it’s about how we choose to use them.’’

Win­ners will be an­nounced on World Dis­abil­ity Day on De­cem­ber 3.

Photo: JESS LEE

New heights: Jor­don Mil­roy will climb the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge to raise aware­ness on World Cere­bral Palsy Day.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished:

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