Belmullet's mark takes on another huge challenge

Mark Gibbons lives in Belmullet; he was born with a hereditary disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. It affects everyone’s sight differently but in Mark's case, he gradually became virtually blind over a period of 20 years.

A horrible fate for anybody to face, but Mark being the person he is, prepared for the day his sight would eventually go and he lives his life to the fullest and is one of the most genuine, kind and funny people you will meet.

Two charities make his independent living possible - The Irish Wheelchair Association who provide a personal assistant service and Irish Guide Dogs - where Mark got his guide dog, Lowery, who is not only a fantastic working dog but truly lives up to the title 'Man’s Best Friend'.

Mark wanted to give back to these Charities so he is taking on a Quadruple Height Challenge, A skydive, an abseil off the roof of Croke Park, Ireland's Longest Zipline and a bungee jump.

The monies raised will be split equally between the Erris branch of The Irish Wheelchair Association and the Irish Guide Dogs. Mark has already completed three of the challenges, the abseil off the roof of Croke Park, the zipline and the skydive.

Mark said: "The hardest thing about the abseil off the roof of Croke Park was getting up on the roof. There were lots of ladders to climb up and down and you had to do a lot of ducking to avoid the pipes that were laying low."

His favourite of the three challenges was the zipline. He really enjoyed the speed and wished it went even faster. For the parachute jump Mark said he thought he would be really nervous going up in the plane 'but the instructors really took your mind off what was coming next with their great sense of humour. Then when the door of the plane opened and you felt that suction, you knew there was no going back now'. The jump was meant to be 10,000 feet but they brought Mark as high as 13,000 feet. Mark said the speed while falling was an amazing adrenaline rush and also very cold so he recommends a scarf and gloves. The instructor was fantastic at guiding Mark through the whole experience and through his guidance they landed very smoothly.

Mark has a street collection in Belmullet today, Friday, June 3 and travels to Belfast on June 11 for his final challenge, the bungee jump. He would like to thank The Broadhaven Bay Hotel and the Western Strands Hotel for their generous sponsorships and also Linda Conway of The Corner House for all her help during the fundraising process.

He would also like to say a massive thank you to Castle Comer Discovery Park and The Irish Parachute Club for their amazing support. If you wish to sponsor Mark please check out his go fund me page:


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