Eric Rowbottom sends clear message that physical disability is no barrier, raising thousands in the process
At the end of a gruelling nine-hour challenge on Saturday, wheelchair user Eric Rowbottom had succeeded in his core aim: raising awareness of disability and sending a clear message that society must strive for total inclusivity above all else.
In the process though, his determination inspired a community and boosted his secondary goal, raising funds for the Special Needs Action Group (SNAG) and the GBC Open Day Fund.
Gibraltar responded to his incredible achievement by digging deep into its pockets to raise over £23,000 through the E-M-Power JustGiving page alone by early Monday morning, over £13,000 of which was donated through the online donations page during the weekend.
While the total registered by the online page is not the final figure, the extraordinary increase from just over £10,000 raised by Friday night, the eve of Mr Rowbottom’s Med Steps challenge, to over £23,000 highlighted the impact Mr Rowbottom’s challenge had on the community, as news spread that he had completed the ascent on Saturday afternoon.
News of the increased number of donations had been known during the final stage of the challenge as volunteers informed Mr Rowbottom of how over £7,000 had been raised solely during the challenge, even before reaching the top.
Dragging himself up the length of Mediterranean Steps, the 59-year old was to inspire a community with his positivity.
Images of his final ascent topped the online lists and received some of the highest impressions registered by this newspaper’s sports twitter account.
More importantly, he was raising awareness of the challenges faced by many disabled people in this community, while proving too that physical disability is no barrier.
Cathy Rowbottom, Eric’s spouse and stalwart supporter in a post on social media on Sunday highlighted the importance of keeping the “narrative” going” and echoing much of what she had said during the challenge as she walked up and down Med Steps, watching over her husband’s progress.
“Let’s not forget to keep the narrative on disability issues going, total inclusion is the aim,” she said.
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