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Paralysed Manchester Arena attack survivor targets £1 million in mission to scale Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, The Manc

Paralysed Manchester Arena attack survivor targets £1 million in mission to scale Mount Kilimanjaro for charity

“Disabled people have to climb their own mountains every day, so I’ve decided to climb a real one.”

A father who was paralysed in the Manchester Arena attack has set a £1 million fundraising target for a very worthy cause as he prepares to scale Mount Kilimanjaro.

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Bolton-born football agent Martin Hibbert – who was the closest casualty to the bomb blast to survive – suffered 22 shrapnel wounds and was left paralysed from the waist down when he and his teenage daughter were among the hundreds injured in the terror attack following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on 22nd May 2017.

But now, to show his true fighting spirit, and, in his own words, to “turn an appalling act of terror into a force for greater good”, Martin is aiming to scale 19,308ft to the top of Africa’s highest mountain in an epic expedition this July.

And in doing so, he hopes to raise £1 million for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

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Read more: Paralysed Manchester Arena attack survivor to scale Mount Kilimanjaro for charity

Martin credits his recovery to support from the association and the dedicated care he received by staff at Salford Royal Hospital, and so, as a fitting tribute to the people who “changed [his] life” and “put [him] back together”, he will take on the challenge alongside his friend Stuart Wildman – a consultant nurse who cared for him from the very beginning in the Major Trauma Unit at Salford Royal.

Now a wheelchair user, Martin will ride a custom-built handbike for the challenge, which he said he was inspired to do after learning that only one in three people with spinal cord injuries receive treatment at specialist centres.

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Since his recovery, Martin has worked with the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) as a trustee to offer “hope, confidence and practical skills” to other people paralysed by spinal cord injury.

He is using the climb to send a message of optimism and inclusivity for life after injury.

Read more: Paralysed Manchester Arena attack survivor ‘walks’ for the first time

Martin told ITV Granada ahead of his expedition that he wants to “start a revolution to change people’s perceptions of what it means to be disabled”, adding: “I want everyone to have the care and support they need, helping everyone to lead the life they want and being fully involved in the decisions that shape their experiences.”

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“Disabled people have to climb their own mountains every day, so I’ve decided to climb a real one,” he concluded.

Speaking ahead of Martin’s challenge this year, Nik Hartley OBE – Chief Executive of the Spinal Injuries Association – said: “Martin is a football-loving family man whose life changed unexpectedly and forever one night in Manchester.

“With grit and determination, he has rebuilt his life and is now supporting other injured people.

“Too often disabled people are seen as second-class citizens, but Martin’s incredible climb is a powerful statement of why achieving one’s goals should not be defined by disability.”

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Paralysed Manchester Arena attack survivor targets £1 million in mission to scale Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, The Manc
Martin will ride a custom-built handbike for the challenge / Credit: SIA / Cloud Force Marketing / Sam Manton

Keen to show your support to Martin? All donations towards Martin’s target of raising £1 million for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) can be made via his official JustGiving page here.

More information and updates can also be found on Martin’s website.

And don’t forget to keep up to date with Martin in the lead-up to the challenge on Twitter and Instagram.

#MartinsMountain

Featured Image – SIA / Cloud Force Marketing / Sam Manton

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