I never thought I’d find myself dangling off the edge of a cliff, in pouring rain, while sitting on a wheelchair.
Blue Mountain Adventure Company, our safety riggers wanted to test the rig out on someone that was able bodied first.
That someone, was me.
It all started when we wanted to offer a complete stranger the opportunity to connect with her son.
Karen Alsop, a photoshop artist asked me to participate on the Heart Project, a community venture that used photography to inspire and help others. She wanted to know if I might be interested to participate in a friendly competition to tell the story of Sarah-Jane – a quadriplegic mother who was struggling to bond with her son after an accident.
After learning more about her, I couldn’t refuse.
For her entire life, she had been a passionate explorer.
Not only was she a master rock climber and abseil instructor, she had biked the entirety of Australia in a figure eight. She was young, fearless and unstoppable and it was during one of these adventures that her son Hamish was born.
But a routine surgery gone wrong left Sarah-Jane (SJ) quadriplegic and unable to go on adventures.
The accident happened when Hamish was only 3 years old. His mother and hero was suddenly unable to take him to have the wonderful experiences he had gotten so used to.
We wanted to help bring some of those experiences back.
So we levitated her through the woods
With a little team of volunteers, we gathered up all our resources together to prepare SJ for an exciting day out.
While I played guinea pig with the crew to make sure everything was safe
Since SJ was an experienced climber, we wanted to make sure all the pieces were as ready as possible before she arrived. Unfortunately for us, the weather was not cooperating – nevertheless, we persisted.
First we started by dangling her son, Hamish, off the edge all alone
Then, it was SJ’s turn
Followed by the lighting equipment and her son
Before capturing a shot of the two of them, reunited in adventure.
The journey wasn’t over yet; Karen had a project up her sleeve too.
Except that she would use the magic of photoshop
To change reality for just a second
Unfortunately for SJ, real life can’t just be “photoshopped” but she wants to keep fighting
But this time in service of others – to improve accessibility for other mothers in her neighbourhood.
We’ve helped her start a GoFundMe.
Now it’s up to you.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the journey. Happy Mother’s week!
- Check out the campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/sarahjanestaszak/
- More about the Heart Project an be found on the website: www.theheartproject.com.au
- For all media enquiries please check out: https://www.theheartproject.com.au/media-centre/
- At the end of this month, we’re launching a new project. It includes Kids, Armor and epic adventure! Here’s a teaser.
- Do you live in Washington, DC? I’m there this week working on a conservation project. If you want to help out, send me a message!
Photographers : Benjamin Von Wong & Karen Alsop
Producer : Adam Cubito
Safety: Blue Mountains Adventure Company
Video Producer/Videographer : Valentina Vee
HMA: Paris Ambrose
Technical liaison: Jake Anderson
Assistants: Don Rajadurai, Stuart Alsop, Brian Bird, Yvette Martinette, Nikki Miller, Karley Miller, Courtney Holmes
Additional thanks to: Glen Isla Luxury, Blue Mountains Accommodation, Woolworths & BWS Leura Cindy Chen at Adobe Australia