There is no shortage of amazing people in the world who, despite their disabilities, are achieving great things in life. These people, through their strength and resilience, persevere through their hardships and motivate others around the globe.
Such is an example of Shailesh Kumar, a young wheelchair user who has defied all odds to become one of the best disabled sportspeople in India. He is constantly inspiring others while playing ball and taking part in marathons himself.
A Football Match Gone Wrong
During a football match, Shailesh sustained an injury to one of his legs. He couldn’t walk back to his room so he asked a friend to help him out. As they were walking together towards the room, Shailesh’s friend lost his footing and they fell. As fate would have it, Shailesh sustained another injury, this time to his spine. This one moment of misfortune cost Shailesh his ability to walk for the rest of his life.
Never Giving Up
Even though he had to spend a year trying to get used to his wheelchair, Shailesh never gave up on his life. He practiced moving around in his wheelchair to the extent where he was able to play basketball. He started playing ball and inspiring others around him, just one year after his injury.
During his time playing basketball, he was told by many people that he should take part in a marathon because he could move very quickly in his wheelchair. He gave it a try, and quickly became India’s fastest marathoner in a wheelchair.
A Turn for the Better
During one of his marathons, Shailesh was spotted by the co-founder of The Ganga Trust, Vaidyanathan. He saw the immense potential that this young marathoner had and decided to help him out in any way he could. Vaidyanathan himself is a wheelchair user so he was well aware of the amount of dedication and hard work it must have taken for Shailesh to be where he was.
Raising Money for a New Wheelchair
The Ganga Trust, in their collaboration with Fuel A Dream, is now trying to raise enough money to buy the Invacare Top End Eliminator OSR Racing Wheelchair for Shailesh. This is a pro-level wheelchair that is used by athletes around the world. The reason for this is because The Ganga Trust is trying to get Shailesh to participate in the 2020 Paralympics.
While some people do use standard wheelchairs for marathons, the difference between those and Invacare’s model is day and night. A standard wheelchair is heavier and more difficult to maneuver, causing the marathoners using them to be at a steep disadvantage.
The Ganga Trust and Fuel A Dream have started a crowdfunding campaign for Shailesh’s new wheelchair, and are still a long way from generating enough funds to buy it. We do hope and pray that Shailesh gets his new wheelchair and gets to participate in the 2020 Paralympics. Till then, he will keep on playing ball and taking part in marathons, inspiring others around him to live their lives to the fullest.