Christopher Reeve – most famous for his role as Superman – fell off a horse and became a paraplegic. No longer the studly object of fan’s attention, he could easily have disappeared into obscurity, but instead demonstrated real superhuman powers by facing his limitations with extraordinary courage. He and his wife then created an organization that supports others bound to wheelchairs. Earlier this year, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation set a record with 193 men and women rolling together in one long wheeled line.
Having contracted polio when he was just four years old, Mr. Taleb has spent his life in a wheelchair, but that has not stopped him from reaching for the stars. Last year, over a period of three days, he traveled 170km from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi in a solar-powered wheelchair.
“I want to send out a message to disabled people that there are no obstructions,” he told The National. “Whatever you think about, you can do. Give disabled people a chance and they can perform miracles.”
This year, in order to receive a Guinness World Record, he will travel the entire distance from Masdar to the Al Thiqa Club for handicapped in Sharjah in one straight shot (130km). Since there are currently no entries for the distance traveled in a wheelchair, the organization has challenged Mr. Taleb to travel at least 100km.
I think it’s going to be very tough, but hopefully we will make it,” Mr Taleb told the paper. “We’ve been testing the wheelchair and preparing all last week.”
This journey is sponsored by Masdar, who donated approximately $68,000, half of which was used to build the solar-powered wheelchair. The model created for this year’s challenge is smaller, less cumbersome than before, and charges en route.
Dr. Nawal al Husany, who is Masdar’s Director of Sustainability, told the paper that Mr. Taleb demonstrates the power of creativity combined with innovation. “His attempt to set a Guinness world record exemplifies that renewable energy has enormous possibilities,” he said. “We welcome his effort.”
:: The National
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