Apr 13, 2009
THUNDER BAY, Ont. — A lawyer from the northern Ontario city of Thunder Bay has become the first known quadriplegic to reach the North Pole.
David Shannon, 46, who was paralyzed after a spinal-cord injury, reached the frosty destination on Saturday with his expedition partner Christopher Watkins, 40, who is also from Thunder Bay.
The men, both lawyers, say they embarked on the daunting trek to raise awareness of accessibility issues and to show how obstacles can be overcome through persistence.
Shannon and Watkins erected a disabled parking sign at the North Pole to commemorate their successful trek.
“This sign represents all peoples who have faced challenges or adversity in their lives and have dreamed of overcoming them,” Shannon said in a statement.
“If we as people work together in our homes, our cities, our countries and in our global village, there is no dream that cannot be realized.”
The journey wasn’t easy, as Shannon’s spinal-cord injury affected his ability to maintain body heat in the frigid climate, and he was also hit by a serious infection. Watkins suffered frostbite to his fingers and a cut to his foot.
Both men are exhausted but are recovering in Norway and expect to come home to Canada in a few days.
Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.