Monday, August 01, 2005

Sailing Hero Hilary Lister

I try to not take my generally robust good health for granted...but when you’re blessed enough to be healthy, it is easy to do. Just like childless people trying to envision having children, it’s tough to know how one might handle a serious disability or health crisis until actually faced with it. So it is that stories about people like quadriplegic Hilary Lister appeal to me. Hilary, 33, is in constant pain and has spent half her life helplessly monitoring the gradual loss of sensation in her limbs. Before discovering sailing she was contemplating suicide - now she’s preparing to single hand across the English Channel at the end of August. You can read about her Channel Challenge here…according to this news report she will be strapped into a cushioned racing driver’s seat, piloting her boat by sucking and blowing gently on two plastic straws linked to a control unit that operates the tiller and the two sails. Breathing in on one straw will steer the boat to starboard; breathing out will guide it to port. The other straw controls winches that adjust the sails. The courage of this woman is an inspiration to not only disabled sailors worldwide, but to we “enabled” sailors who handle the many tasks aboard a sailboat without a second thought of our extreme good fortune.

No comments: