Michael Corbett has not walked since a car accident left him a quadriplegic in 1975. However, this did not stop the man from Newport from wishing to climb one of his county’s highest peaks — Croagh Patrick.
Now as part of a drive to raise funds for new charity Haven, building homes and hope in Haiti, Michael’s dream is coming true. His friends, June Kerrins and David Ellis are both signed up as volunteers with Haven and will be travelling to Haiti at Halloween to build homes for the poorest people in the western world.
They decided to combine their fundraising efforts and Michael’s wish into a charity event, Mick’s Climb 2009. On Sunday August 16, a team of at least 40 walkers will take on the Reek.
“This is a great way for us to raise funds for Haven — a new charity building homes for those who literally have nothing in Haiti,” said June Kerins, “and to also help our friend Michael achieve something he has not done since he was a teenager.”
Michael will have to be carried all the way by stretcher — one specially made to be able to endure the high impact climb up the 764 metre (2,510 feet ) high mountain. It is approximately three miles to the summit, with a particularly gruelling last 250 metres. The entire six mile return journey is likely to take up to 10 hours for Michael and the team.
“The last time I was on the Reek was 30 years ago, well before my accident,” said Michael, who works with the Disability Foundation. “I would not be able to do this without the help of the team of 40 who will be carrying me in relays up and down the mountain.”
All have been in training since the beginning of June. The team includes a contingent from the Defence Forces and great local support from the Westport region, where June, David and Michael are based. Many of the team have lost their jobs recently as a result of the recession, including Haven volunteer David Ellis.
“While many people like myself are feeling the pinch of the recession it is nothing compared to the people of Haiti, with more than three-quarters of the entire population living below the official poverty line of $2 a day,” said David.
Anyone interested in supporting Mick’s Climb can contact the team via their own website www.havenhelpus.com Donations can be made securely online through a link to Haven’s official website www.havenpartnership.com June and David need to raise a minimum of €4,000 each in order to take part in Haven’s Build it Week in Haiti at the end of October. They will be part of a 250-strong volunteer team who will be building houses in a rural part of Haiti, the poorest country in the western world.