Michael, YMCA Thames Gateway
In 2008, aged just 17, Michael was struck down with an unknown virus that left him paralysed from the chest down and with severe visual difficulties.
Michael had to adjust to life in a wheelchair and in order to build up his upper body strength he joined YMCA Thames Gateway’s gym.
In 2012 Michael has life-changing surgery, which gave him some of his independence back. Recognising his true grit and determination, YMCA fitness staff recommended Michael pursue gym instructor training through InstructAbility, a bespoke programme designed to engage disabled people in the fitness industry. Discovering a passion for fitness, Michael overcame his physical limitations and qualified as a personal trainer.
Furthermore, Michael leads on para-sports activities for young people with disabilities and runs sessions, such as wheelchair basketball. And his fitness achievements don’t end there, as last year Michael participated in Parallel London – an inclusive 10k push around the Olympic Park.
Michael is a true advocate and supporter for the charity and in 2015 raised a staggering £1,146.75 by taking part in Sleep Easy.
He is now living independently and recently married Tracey, the love of his life.