Melissa Dempsey, 23, a call centre employee from Bolton has defied the odds by climbing Mam Tor – a 1,695ft view point in Edale, despite having mobility issues.
The expedition part of her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with employer ao.com involved a three day, two night hike through the Peak District.
Melissa who has cerebral palsy, is the first ever participant from a business running The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) to complete the challenge while using a wheelchair. She made the trip on 29th April – 1st May, alongside 13 other ao.com employees, as part of their 18 month programme.
The call centre worker was able to complete the challenge thanks to her new Mountain Trike – an innovative all-terrain wheelchair that allows the user to control the wheels with levers.
She also completed part of the ascend without the Trike, using her hands and arms to pull her way up the hill, and climb over styles with the help of the team.
Melissa said afterwards: ‘When I was told what I was about to do I did have my doubts (especially when I saw the hill) but it is all down to mind over matter.’
She added: ‘It was a great achievement for me, especially with having cerebral palsy, but make no mistake my team were as much help as the Mountain Trike. They helped me overcome physical and mental boundaries, they have all inspired me to push myself in everything I do.
‘If you have self-belief and a great group of people supporting you, you can do anything, and I believe I’m living proof of that’.
Chris Havard, the DofE Leader at ao.com said of the event: ‘The whole group set a great example to the entire business of how dedication and perseverance help to overcome obstacles. It was inspiring watching them pull together as a team.’
ao.com funds the DofE Business programme for young adults in the company, to help promote team work and build healthy relationships across departments, as well as teaching them skills to build their confidence.
Peter Westgarth, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Chief Executive said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to see the first group of DofE participants from ao.com complete their Expedition section of their Gold Award through our DofE in business programme.’
He added: ‘A special mention to Mel who reached the summit of Mam Tor with the additional challenge of completing it in her Mountain Trike. It’s a great example that the DofE is an Award for all and I look forward to seeing the skills picked up on Expedition translate back in the ao.com offices and warehouse, providing benefits to the whole business.’
The group’s next challenge is a four day, four night expedition to the Lake District in June, when they’ll be tackling Helvellyn, the third highest peak in England.
More information about Melissa’s expedition can be found here.
More information about the DofE can be found at www.dofe.org
More information on Mountain Trike can be found at www.mountaintrike.com