BY JAMES TWOMEY
A wheelchair user who abseiled down the side of a skyscraper for charity said it was easier to do than the physical obstacles she has to overcome on a daily basis.
Caroline Walsh, 43, from Eltham took part in the sponsored event to slide down the side of Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf for the Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal.
Her aim was to raise cash and awareness of mental health as a public health issue.
Caroline said: “The day was very important to me. Having been born with Spina Bifida and being the first in my borough to go to mainstream school.
“It was easier for me to arrange to do the abseil than do some basic every day living activities that most non-disabled take for granted such as travelling across London by train.
“Tanni Grey Thompson regularly tweets of being left on trains nationwide even when booking assistance.
“I have the same mixed experience, especially at London Bridge with South East Trains.
Also the maintenance of kerbs and pavements in some areas can be an issue.
“I wanted to raise awareness that removes the barriers any of us disabled and non-disabled can achieve anything.
Reaching personal new heights anywhere especially for the benefit of our communities.
“The sights across London and Kent were breathtaking and spectacular in equal measures. I felt excited and bizarrely calm while doing it.
“The abseil made me feel very empowered, free from frustrations of proving my equality, equity, worth.
I was made to feel like an equal human being with respect and dignity by the whole team involved.
“There was never any hesitation or barriers from the team before or on the day I could do this.
“We problem solved together constructively every step of the way, from pre-sign up to post abseil finish.
“Positive attitudes move mountains.”
Caroline was one 92 people to abseil down the 156 metre tall building.
Caroline added: “We were an inclusive team. I was not the only disabled person who did the challenge.”
Caroline is already thinking ahead to her next adventure and hopes to inspire disabled and non-disabled people by showing them they may not be as limited as they feel.
Caroline said: “Maybe a parachute jump next.”
The three charities that are being supported by the abseil as part of the Lord Mayor’s appeal are Place2Be, OnSide Youth Zones and Samaritans.
At the time of going to print the amount Caroline had raised was £1,538.97.
To help out, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/caroline-walsh16.