Disabled Polar Explorer Honoured By The Queen
LONDON, 7 December 2004
Michael McGrath, inspirational disabled polar explorer with Muscular Dystrophy [MD], says he’s thrilled the Queen is honouring him today at Buckingham Palace.
McGrath became the first disabled person in the world to have reached both Poles having successfully reached the North Pole in April 2002
The 39-year old motivational speaker and Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser, disABILITY Champion for Hilton UK & Ireland and a ‘Good Will Ambassador’ for Merseyside-based bespoke wheelchair manufacturer Cyclone Mobility & Fitness, was invited to the Palace, to recognise people who have made a significant recent contribution to national life.
After 15 days in Antarctica, Michael travelled the last 5km of his epic journey strapped in the supine position in an adapted sledge. With the help of his team, he walked ‘assisted’ the last 350 metres – each metre symbolically representing some 100,000 people worldwide with muscle disorders including the debilitating condition, Muscular Dystrophy
He commented: ‘In exploring human potential, we are intrinsically connected to one other by muscles that bind us together, muscles that give us the power to achieve, muscles that enable us to realise our ambitions. Despite having lost some 65% of my muscle bulk, our aim was to highlight ability, not disability whilst generating global awareness towards those with Muscular Dystrophy. Even though my condition has deteriorated over the past two years, I managed to walk further at the South Pole, thanks in part to the continuing help and invaluable support provided by companies like Cyclone Mobility & Fitness.’
Cyclone’s Managing Director, Stuart Dunne, said: ‘As a disabled man who’s supported Michael for a number of years, I am delighted that he’s been honoured for his inspirational contribution to the life of our nation. We’re both similar animals in that we refuse to allow our own disabilities to dictate the life choices we make. I supported Michael in his amazing ‘pole2pole’ endeavour because he was a physically disadvantaged person undertaking an unparalleled feat, but also because he wanted to make a bold statement that no task was too great if the desire to complete the journey came from the heart.’