Power of friendship
Rustenburg – Brenda Klopper can testify that with grit, determination and a little help from your friends, you can do just about anything!
Brenda has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy due to a brain injury sustained at birth. Despite being wheelchair bound, she loves competing in physical challenges and has already skydived. She enjoys horse riding with Karen Spies of Equine Therapy. In June 2019 Brenda decided to take on a new challenge- complete a Parkrun.
After some discussion and a lot of online research Brenda’s friends Cathy Dzerefos, Hendrik Badenhorst, Anthony Roux and Maria Slater took to the challenge to find out first-hand whether it was possible to complete the Koster Parkrun with a wheelchair.
After some deliberation and planning they set out to complete Brenda’s first Parkrun- albeit at a slower speed than other participants. While not being the first to cross the finish line Brenda and friends were the day’s winners for completing this unusual challenge and making Brenda’s wish come true.
Brenda dubbed Anthony ‘Flash Gordon’ as he gave a burst of youthful speed when it was his turn to push. Hendrik, a passionate teacher at Rustenburg’s skool vir Buitengewone Onderwys, entertained the party with interesting insights and anecdotes.
In an interview with Platinum Weekly Brenda says: “These remarkable friends made it possible for me to complete the Koster Parkrun because they are devoted, caring and obviously daring enough to be different.
They have kind, gentle hearts and change the world one person at a time. I would love to participate in similar Parkrun events in the future.
We are going to investigate accessibility of other venues and invest in a lightweight wheelchair that is easy to manoeuvre on different terrains.
I hope to inspire Parkrun organizers and others to consider people with disabilities, their families and friends in their designs and plans.”
Brenda’s example is one of human resilience, determination and collaboration to reach inaccessible goals whatever they might be.
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