• The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

  • The online Community for people with spinal cord injury, their relatives and friends

The Man Who Rolls Blindly

Mark Pollock conquers challenges with multiple disabilities

Today is the 3rd International Day of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI Day). For this reason, in the Community we portray a man with SCI who is committed to the cause of people with SCI: Mark Pollock.

This man has three lives. He’s blind and paraplegic. Here’s how Mark Pollock lives on, again and again.

First life: blind in one eye

Pollock (first from left) was captain of the Trinity College Dublin rowing club.

Born in Northern Ireland, Mark Pollock lost vision in one eye at the age of five. Losing vision in one eye means he couldn’t do contact sports like rugby or hockey, which many children would love to. But that didn’t stop him from doing other sports. He soon indulged himself in rowing and sailing.

Mark later studied at Trinity College Dublin, the top university in Ireland, and there he had a promising university rowing career. His life was rather okay until he was 22, when his “first life” ended.

Second life: complete blindness

Towards the end of his time at college, Mark’s vision started to worsen. Eventually, he lost his vision completely.

While struggling to adapt to his new life with complete blindness, Mark rebuilt his identity for his “second life”, and rowing played a major role in it.

Three years after his blindness, Mark got back into rowing and that’s where he found his confidence again. This confidence continued to grow and led him to multiple ultra-endurance races across deserts and mountains.

Pollock was the first blind man to reach the South Pole.

In 2009, 10 years after his blindness, Mark accomplished yet another challenge: reaching the South Pole. He and his team joined the South Pole Race, trekked 770 kilometers for over 43 days and experienced minus 50 degrees Celsius. The team arrived at the South Pole 22 days after their journey started. Mark became the first blind person to reach the South Pole!

When being asked how he managed to accomplish such an extreme challenge, Mark said, “all I was trying to do was replicate what I had done before I lost my sight, that is push myself to my limit, that is sport…” (extract from User1st’s Spotlight interview).

As a person who’s been through this much, Mark knew how to approach challenges without a doubt until 2010, when his “third life” began.

Third life: being blind and paralyzed

“…sometimes we choose our challenges and other times challenges choose us.”

In July 2010, Mark was once again chosen by a new challenge. A fall from a second story window severely damaged his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the waist down.

For the past years, Mark has been telling people in numerous talks,

“…focus on the decisions that we can control rather than the external factors that we can’t.”

“…respond to those challenges by doing two things: finding people who are prepared to think differently and finding people who are not scared of being wildly ambitious.”

Despite his many experiences and success to cope with challenges, Mark did have doubt after the spinal cord accident. However, as a person who likes to deal with facts, Mark managed to overcome his challenge once again.

Believing that one person isn’t enough to make things happen in science, Mark now manages the Mark Pollock Trust to raise fund for finding and connecting people around the world to fast-track a cure for paralysis. Within five years, he has already raised enough funds to achieve multiple milestones across the world. One of them is that he was the first completely paralyzed man who could voluntarily move his legs in a robotic exoskeleton. More information about the Trust, its activities and research can be found on the Mark Pollock Trust website.

Last but not least, here’s a presentation of Mark sharing his, not multiple disabilities but, multiple possibilities in life:

Sources:

Can you imagine living with multiple disabilities? How do you bring yourself together whenever you face a new or extreme challenge?

Comments (0)

There are no comments on this topic yet.
Be the first to comment!
Forum
Most Recent Answers
3995 odyssita
Explaining what life with a chronic disability is like
Hi cAro, all the best for your research! I am very curious to hear about the results once they are being published. Thank you for researching this...
6 odyssita 2018-05-02
3560 Wheelie
Scewo
Good news for all who would like to try out the Scewo by themselves: according the Scewo constructors, the feedback on their invention was so...
5 Johannes 2018-03-12
Ask the Expert
Most Recent Answers
3 Dr._Hans_old 2015-07-20
3 Dr._Hans_old 2015-05-07

Blog
Most Recent Blog Posts
“If you have a heartbeat, there is still time for your dreams!”
Sean Stephenson on how to create powerful connections with people, because together all is possible.
0
lisa.adey 2019-09-06 In Society
Entrepreneurship and Disability
How they link to each other – and some success stories
0
Cheerleading for Everyone
Discovering ParaCheer, a new division in cheerleading
0
Wiki
Most Read
Anatomy and physiology of respiration
Breathing is the most normal thing in the world for us. We hardly think about it, even though we breathe in and out about 20,000 times per day. We breathe more when we are active and exerting ourselves, and we breathe less when we are...
Contractures
What are contractures and how do they develop? Contractures are shortenings of muscles, tendons or ligaments that have a limiting effect on the movements of the joints. The normal ability to move a joint is lost. Contractures are frequently...
Suctioning
In some cases, support is needed for cleaning the nasopharyngeal space and keeping it free from secretion. For this purpose, suctioning is performed through the nose and, if necessary, the mouth. This is particularly necessary if the nose cannot be...

About the Community
Most Recent Topics
2019-09-19 In Latest
Interabled Couple in Poland
Remember Shane & Hannah: the interabled couple we reported earlier this year? They got engaged just months after in June! In August, the couple took off to their second overseas trip together...
0
2019-07-03 In Latest
UK’s “New” Disability Measures?
With 14 million people living with a disability in the country, the UK Prime Minister announced new measures last week to address the inequalities these people face. These measures include higher...
0
2019-03-27 In Latest
Our new Community
Glad to have you back! We have done a lot to make sure that you find your way around quickly and feel at home – including this new section, where we regularly post latest tips, information, links,...
0

Contact

Swiss Paraplegic Research
Guido A. Zäch Strasse 4
6207 Nottwil
Switzerland

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T 0800 727 236 (from Switzerland, free of charge)
T +41 41 939 65 55 (from other countries, charges apply)

Be part of the Community – sign up now!