Mark Pollock (Ireland)

Mark Pollock (Ireland)

Inspiring Adventurer

Synopsis

Mark has rowed for his country, run across the Gobi desert and trekked to the South Pole. Even more impressively he undertook these achievements after losing his sight. Less than a year after returning from the Pole, a fall left Mark paralysed and facing months of gruelling rehabilitation, but his will remains unbreakable and with the aid of a ReWalk suit he’s regaining movement and proving the power of never giving up.

Biography

Mark Pollock is an adventurer and sports person who has achieved impressive feats in rowing, sailing and running. These achievements are all the more incredible considering Mark is blind. On top of that, after ten years of taking on extraordinary challenges around the world, a fall paralysed Mark, but he continues to push himself and inspire others.

Diagnosed with weak retinas after losing the sight in his right eye as a child, Mark avoided physical contact sports and took up rowing and sailing. However, as a student, Mark’s vision became blurred and within two weeks he was completely blind. Refusing to let this setback rule his life, he returned to rowing and competed in two Commonwealth Games. He then went on to tackle a host of other challenges including six marathons in seven days across the Gobi desert, becoming the first blind person to trek to the South Pole, and running a marathon on Everest.

Less than a year after his South Pole expedition, Mark fell from a window breaking his back in three places and leaving him paralysed from the waist down. Operations and infections, physical and emotional pain followed, and Mark’s impressive will and determination was severely tested describing himself as ‘paralysed, blind and broken.’ Suddenly, Mark, who had overcome blindness to be as adventurous and independent as any signed person, was reliant on others again.

Never one to give up though, Mark researched Project Walk, a pioneering Californian rehabilitation centre which attempts to reconnect paralysed limbs with intense therapy. Through gruelling training and use of a revolutionary piece of equipment, the ReWalk suit, Mark is slowly getting the power of his legs back. In speeches, Mark recounts his incredible, moving and inspiring story and demonstrates no challenge in insurmountable.

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