By Randy Pierce
“Die Living!” This is the message Andy Campbell would like to share with the world. It’s a world he’s going to know pretty well as he undertakes a traverse involving 30,000 miles and more than 30 countries. He’s traveling from the United Kingdom to China, from there to Alaska and onward to Chile! This would be an impressive accomplishment for anyone, but moreso for Andy because he is partially paralyzed. He’s going to do it entirely hand powered, mostly via his wheelchair.
Is it even possible? Well, undoubtedly the wheelchair would meet its match many times along the route, but Andy will have a plan for every scenario, from the all-terrain wheelchair he’s dubbed “the tank” to an oversized Sea Kayak. Rock climbing, skiing, a parasail, hand cycles and something I’ve never even heard about: a kite buggy!
In execution, this is a two-year project, but folks watching Andy’s training in Scotland have already seen him dragging tires behind his wheelchair as he piles on the miles of strength and endurance building necessary for him achieve such a thing. I’ve often felt that Henry Ford said it very well with his “Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are probably correct!” Andy Campbell clearly believes this is within the reach of his powerful arms, determined will, and tremendous support system he’s been building for the adventure.
Andy epitomizes the idea of Ability Awareness and his “broken but not beaten” philosophy is astounding. It takes only a moment of listening to him to realize that while he’s doing this for charity, raising £1m as a goal, it’s his love for the adventure of life that calls him forward. A climbing accident broke his back six years ago but nothing has broken his spirit. The “Die” portion of his mantra will come when it comes for each of us, but I am very certain he has an excellent grasp on the living part, with his hands on the “wheelchair around the world!”