Last summer, we had an exceptional guest at the Climbing Center of Zillertal. It was a hot day, and she could have joined the others complaining about sweaty hands and bad friction. But no, we did not hear any nagging of that or bad sleep or a skipped lunch – the usual suspects of a failure to send the latest project. Instead, we saw a climber enjoying her every second on the wall.
We learned that she is very special. As she rolled in, the whole gym turned to look at her, and she gave a friendly smile in response. It was not her wheel chair that set her apart but her attitude and love for life.
It was a story that had to be told to the world, and we found a media for that in a Finnish climbing journal, Rock Sport Magazine, that featured a story of Sonja and their Germany-based MS on the Rocks group in the December 2014 issue.
This story now tells how things took off from there.
We come rarely across another as happy climber as Sonja, but we got to witness one recently in Finland. Our friend JP had been brave enough to accept the invite to try climbing, despite his diagnosis for MS, Multiple Sclerosis. It was the path paved by his German allies that set the spark and gave him the hope.
We saw his happiness growing through a great struggle and pain, and come finally true at 14 meters, higher than JP had ever climbed even before his diagnosis.
It had taken some convincing and support to get him going, but once en route, there was no mighty power in this world that could have stopped him. Determined, skin tearing off the fingers, he went on hold by hold, step by step. Sweating, swearing, giving all he had, and finding somewhere even more to give. He was going for it as we all should.
“I really did not know it would be possible”, he said after topping out. Yet he did it. He conquered it.
Thanks to JP’s efforts, therapeutic climbing has taken it’s next steps in Finland – the Neuro Society have already bought in to take his example forward. Well done!