In Jethro’s own words…
After finally finding my passion in life at 28 years old, I slowly started dedicating my life to it. Rock climbing became the focal point of my life and I made some beneficial changes to my life to get fitter and healthier to perform better at climbing. By 35 I was headed somewhere with this sport, perhaps even to reaching my long term goal of the hard 8a grade. My life was headed in the right direction, I was fit, healthy and climbing in the Cederberg in South Africa.
On the 13th of July whilst hiking out to go climbing on an average winter’s climbing day, a boulder dislodged and slid of a rock shelf next to where I was walking – and crushed both my legs. Hours later I was airlifted to hospital where they immediately amputated my right leg to save my life. My left leg was badly damaged and it took a week and a half and 4 operations before the doctors were confident that the left leg would not need to be amputated.
I went from a state of dedicated practice and achievement to a state of pure inactivity, pain and hospitalisation. My world had collapsed and my dreams of becoming the strong dedicated 8a climber were gone, dreams I had invested a great deal in.
“I do know that to do it I will need a boss level prosthetic”
But Life was not over, and I had had fought to survive the first day of this traumatic journey which very nearly killed me. It is now time to rekindle the dreams that were crushed, a renewed dedication to a healthy life of exercise and achievement. Life is a wonderful gift and we have a responsibility to appreciate it and make the most of it.
I want to show the world that it is possible to achieve your dreams despite tragedy – dreams like returning to climbing and hiking and to mark the achievement. I am planning to try to summit Aconcagua in South America and to climb at grade 7a again. I have no idea how long these dreams will take and if they’re even possible but if we don’t ask the questions we will never get the answers. I do know that to do it I will need a boss level prosthetic for my right leg.
I am currently learning to walk using a borrowed prosthetic but I will need to purchase my own before long. Whilst there are many options, essentially the good ones do cost more. To go out and achieve my dreams and show the world what’s possible, I’ll need to purchase a prosthetic for around half a million Rand (depending on the exchange rate as they mostly come from Europe).
So come with me on this journey of inspiration and conquering mountains. Help me show the world that there is life after trauma and that you can still follow your dreams no matter what life puts in your path.
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