Inspiring Runner: Sean Clarke
A freak accident in 2002 left Sean Clarke with severe nerve damage resulting in complete loss of sensation in his lower left leg. Having been told that swimming was a good place to start with rehab, Sean went on to represent South African Disabled Team in various events around the world. Aiming higher still, Sean took up cycling and running and spread awareness whereever he goes...
I am a third year Stellenbosch University student studying Law. In June 2002, I jumped off a roof and went parallel to a glass window, kicking my left leg through the pane of glass. The glass cut the back of my leg which resulted in complete popliteal and peroneal nerve palsy of my lower left limb. As a result of this, I cannot feel my lower left leg and cannot move my foot or toes.
The doctors explained to me that swimming would be the best form of rehab which encouraged my mom to register me for disabled swimming. This opened a door of opportunities for me and I had the privilege of representing the South African Disabled Team at various events around the world.
I enjoy beating the odds and doing things that people would never expect me to do. One of them was completing the Amashova-Shova - a 106km cycle race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of those living with physical disabilities. Having said this I am extremely privileged to have gotten sufficient medical treatment, but there are many individuals living with disabilities who do not receive such treatment and live in the worst possible conditions. It is this that made me think of doing something that would be difficult for myself as well as physically disabled persons in the hope of bettering the lives of such people. It is for this reason I am running my first Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon for a charity that aims to improve the lives of those living with disabilities, The Rachel Swart Fund.
I have never been a runner, simply due to the fact that running takes a lot of effort and pain on my behalf. Despite this, I have always enjoyed a jog. My first ever race was the Ginos 10km Night Run on 17 of February. Although I finished the race, I have a great deal of training to do. But I look forward to the challenge on 26 March.
I have undergone a number of operations in the past few years to better my quality of living. My most recent and most successful was a triple arthodesis, which aimed at fusing the bones in my foot to correct the deformity that had developed since my accident.
At a particular stage after my accident, and after a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon, it was explained that a below knee amputation would be the best bet going forward. However, I chose not to go this route and decided to continue what I had been doing, that is taking every day as it comes.
Over the years, my archilles tendon has shortened which has severely restricted my movement and my knee is showing serious signs of weakness. Although I have been told that my decision to run the half marathon is a bad idea, I feel that the cause and challenge is bigger than the situation. My ultimate goal is to one day complete the Comrades Marathon, but we will have to see about that one!
In order to raise enough funds I am appealing to the public to make a donation regardless of the amount. Every cent counts! Remember to use my name (Sean Clarke) as your reference.
Account no: 1048017575
Branch Code: 104809
Sean Clarke (as a reference).
My friends and family have played a major role in my life and has very seldomly showed signs of sympathy. This is a positive thing as I feel that sympathy disallows me from believing that I am just as abled as everyone else. I look forward to the challenge ahead, and will try my absolute best to finish.