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True grit | Paraplegic climbs up Hong Kong skyscraper in wheelchair to raise money for spinal cord injury patients

Lai Chi-wai became the first in Hong Kong to climb more than 250 metres of a skyscraper while strapped into a wheelchair as he pulled himself up for more than 10 hours on January 16 to raise money for spinal cord injury patients. The event raised HK$5.2 million ($670,639) in donations. Lai, prior to 2011, was crowned Asia champion four times for rock climbing and at one point ranked eighth globally.

January 17, 2021 / 07:11 PM IST
Lai Chi-wai became the first in Hong Kong to climb more than 250 meters of a skyscraper while strapped into a wheelchair as he pulled himself up for more than 10 hours on January 16 to raise money for spinal cord patients. (Image: Reuters)
Lai Chi-wai became the first in Hong Kong to climb more than 250 metres of a skyscraper while strapped into a wheelchair as he pulled himself up for more than 10 hours on January 16 to raise money for spinal cord patients. (Image: Reuters)
The 37-year-old climber, whose car accident 10 years ago left him paralyzed from waist down, could not make it to the top of the 300 metre-tall Nina Tower on the Kowloon peninsula. “I was quite scared,” Lai said. “Climbing up a mountain, I can hold onto rocks or little holes, but with glass, all I can really rely on is the rope that I’m hanging off.” (Image: Reuters)
The 37-year-old climber, whose car accident 10 years ago left him paralysed from waist down, could not make it to the top of the 300 metre-tall Nina Tower on the Kowloon peninsula. “I was quite scared,” Lai said. “Climbing up a mountain, I can hold onto rocks or little holes, but with glass, all I can really rely on is the rope that I’m hanging off.” (Image: Reuters)
The event raised HK$5.2 million ($670,639) in donations. Lai, prior to 2011, was crowned Asia champion four times for rock climbing and at one point ranked eighth globally. (Image: Reuters)
The event raised HK$5.2 million ($670,639) in donations. Lai, prior to 2011, was crowned Asia champion four times for rock climbing and at one point ranked eighth globally. (Image: Reuters)
After his accident, he resumed climbing by attaching his wheelchair to a pulley system. Five years ago he ascended the 495-metre high Lion Rock Mountain, a local folk culture symbol of Hong Kong’s strength and grit. (Image: Reuters)
After his accident, he resumed climbing by attaching his wheelchair to a pulley system. Five years ago he ascended the 495-metre high Lion Rock Mountain, a local folk culture symbol of Hong Kong’s strength and grit. (Image: Reuters)
“Apart from just living, I wondered what drives me? So I began to chase that, knowing that there was a possibility I could climb mountains, even in a wheelchair,” Lai said. “In a way, I forgot that I was a disabled person, I could still dream and I could still do what I liked doing.” (Image: Reuters)
“Apart from just living, I wondered what drives me? So I began to chase that, knowing that there was a possibility I could climb mountains, even in a wheelchair,” Lai said. “In a way, I forgot that I was a disabled person, I could still dream and I could still do what I liked doing.” (Image: Reuters)
Although he did not make it to the top of the skyscraper, due to safety concerns, Lai hoped to send a message. “Some people don’t understand the difficulties of disabled people, some people think that we are always weak, we need help, we need assistance, we need people’s pity,” Lai said. (Image: Reuters)
Although he did not make it to the top of the skyscraper, due to safety concerns, Lai hoped to send a message. “Some people don’t understand the difficulties of disabled people, some people think that we are always weak, we need help, we need assistance, we need people’s pity,” Lai said. (Image: Reuters)
“But, I want to tell everyone, it doesn’t have to be like that. If a disabled person can shine, they can at the same time bring about opportunity, hope, bring about light, they don’t have to be viewed as weak.” (Image: Reuters)
“But, I want to tell everyone, it doesn’t have to be like that. If a disabled person can shine, they can at the same time bring about opportunity, hope, bring about light, they don’t have to be viewed as weak,” he says. (Image: Reuters)
Reuters
first published: Jan 17, 2021 07:05 pm

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