Extreme Abilities is an innovative group of disabled people whose taste for adventure and desire to explore and travel the world drove them to create opportunities for themselves and other people living with disabilities.
The disability world is rapidly growing. With all the new advancements in disability aids, inspirational philosophies and brilliant sporting and awareness initiatives that have been surfacing in the past decade, we will soon reach a point where the question will be asked: “Is that really so much of a ‘disability’?” From doing a backflip in a wheelchair, surfing the legendary Mavericks wave paralyzed, to sailing around the world blind, people all over the world have been doing things that really put forces us to re-examine the word ‘disability’. So much so, that these amazing disabled individuals, athletes and thinkers really give the other 85 per cent of the world’s able-bodied people something to think about.
One of these pioneering individuals is Dries Millard, a T8 complete paraplegic. He introduced and adapted surfing to the disabled community of South Africa in 2011 through Extreme Abilities, a non-profit company that caters to disabled people. Through this platform, anyone with any kind of disability can experience the thrill of surfing. Dries and his team have a few events scheduled for the rest of 2014 and in 2015. They rely on volunteers to help out on these adapted surfing events and invite anyone to come and be a part of this initiative to uplift and create awareness.
Through these events, they have helped over 300 disabled individuals to realise the vast amount of opportunities that life after disability still holds. A little bit of know-how, a good attitude, and the will to learn is what it’s all about. People from all walks of life get together to help, teach and learn from one another in a safe and fun environment. Best thing is, it doesn’t cost a cent to either participant or volunteer!
Like any other non-profit organistaion, Extreme Abilities relies on sponsors and funding in order to host these events. As part of their fundraising and their effort to create awareness, Dries does motivational speaking and hosts seminars on disability in the corporate world and at schools. Extreme Abilities is run with one thing in mind: “You’re only as limited as you allow yourself to be.” In essence, Extreme Abilities doesn’t provide disabled people with money or disability aids like most non-profits; instead, they offer disabled people the means to uplift themselves mentally and emotionally in order to regain independence and a normal life after disability.
For more information on how to get involved with this unique initiative, you can visit the Extreme Abilities website at www.extremeabilities.co.za. You can also contact Dries via the website if you would like advice or have any questions about disability.