This is Michael McGrath on behalf of pole2pole on Thursday 5th February with an update since our return back into London Heathrow last week – real news from real people with a real experience!
Whichever way your persuasion, the media have focused on feeding us with a plethora of ‘news’ including the Hutton Enquiry and of course the daily diatribe relating to “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” … nevertheless, pole2pole has attracted some excellent media coverage
We are thrilled to be back home and to see close family and friends greet us warmly at London Heathrow. A massive thank you to our official airline carrier Virgin Atlantic Airways who looked after us incredibly well and ensured that our final leg home from Miami was as comfortable as possible
The pole2pole Expedition was without doubt a lifetime achievement, a journey never to be forgotten and a tremendous success in so many different ways
A huge thank you to Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions [ALE] for there tremendous support in Antarctica and especially to our personal guide Di Gilbert who was absolutely brilliant. She looked after us beautifully giving us enough rope to have a fantastic experience without letting us hang ourselves. She kicked us into line when we needed it and still found time to cook a mean chocolate brownie!
Since arriving back home, I have been attending to a variety of media interviews including television, radio and broadsheets over the last week as well as catching up on some much needed sleep and some fantastic home-cooking … I never realised I would miss my wife’s Italian Meat Balls so much – watch out all you celebrity chefs!
What next I hear you say?
My brief now is to deliver on our commitment to raise £1M for The Muscular Help Foundation for neuro-muscular research. We have a very exciting year ahead of us with a number of key sponsorship opportunities as part of our fundraising strategy
If Wembley stadium in London is costing the UK taxpayer £700m and taking 3 years to build, what we are asking for is the equivalent to one fifteenth of the hot dog concession!
The Foundations fundraising activities will be allocated in a number of different ways including contributions towards leading-edge gene therapy research. They will also be used to establish a number of research fellowship grants, attracting and retaining high calibre talent to the specialist field of neuro-muscular research. In so doing, the Foundation and the pole2pole event will have continued to generate awareness and provide funding to help pioneer the ongoing global search for a cure for Muscular Dystrophy
We are planning a Celebration of Success Party to thank all our sponsors who supported pole2pole. The Muscular Help Foundation team are very much looking forward to working with and building on our existing partnerships as well as establishing new collaborative corporate relationships moving forward.
We are also thrilled to have generated some global interest in raising awareness about Muscular Dystrophy and our Foundation from Chile to Australia and the USA.
There are so many individuals and companies to thank for there support of this project in helping me to make history in being the first disabled person to conquer both the north and south pole. You know who you are and without you our success would simply not have happened
Please continue to follow and support our development as a Foundation and use your muscles to save muscles. If your organisation is motivated to participate, please contact me either via e-mail or by phone – details on the website. There are already a number of extremely exciting long-term partnerships with leading brands, focused on for example Diversity and in particular Disability and also Corporate Citizenship – watch this space
Best wishes to you all for a successful 2004
Finally … “The two most important things I’ve learnt so far is that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking that first step”
Now our work begins …