Last weekend we were truly lucky enough to be invited to help some kids get onto and enjoy the local wall at The Glasgow Climbing Centre.
The invite was from the Finding Your Feet Charity who do incredible work to support children and adult amputee’s and those born with limb deficiencies.
We arrived at the GCC unsure of what to expect, we don’t have kids and I was an only child so have little experience with helping them try new tongs or overcome fears plus if I’m honest they can make me nervous mostly because I’m so keen they like me and think I’m “cool” !
I needn’t have worried.
When Corrine , herself a quadruple amputee and organiser arrived she instantly got things running with an energy only few people really possess, everyone was clearly excited and nervous in equal measures and suddenly I realised that knowing how to climb, tie in and belay was useful and a set of skills I was actually able to pass on.
I was buddied with Connor, an amazing little boy who was born without a thigh bone and as a result his ankle was where you or I would have a knee. To allow for a prosthetic to make life easier in the long run he had had his foot amputated and the prosthetic fitted just 1 month ago. Such a small boy and already faced more than most of us will every thankfully have to.
His dad Neil was with him as was his gran, and my wife Sam was waiting to be assigned her buddy so was around us taking pics and encouraging him as I showed him how the rope worked, how to tie in and explained it didn’t matter how high he went or what hold he used he was just here to have fun.
I was so incredibly proud to see how much he looked up to me to impart all this wisdom and how he listened to every word as I guided hi in this strange colourful place.
By the end of the day he was climbing away, asking to go higher, chalking up (Magic climbing dust) , clapping like a pro and pulling up higher every time. I coached his dad to be able to belay and now they a can share that together. He was an a amazing trouper, balancing on the leg which had so recently lots its foot.
I think I had a more fun day than Connor and the confident ease with which he had me lifting him and carrying him to get up and down stairs, giving me high 5 ‘s when he made a higher climb and the unquestionable trust he put in me has made an everlasting mark on me.
Climb when you’re ready Connor.