Inspirational Nollamara resident Mark Elsing has set his sights on an ambitious fitness challenge to raise funds for Brightwater Care Group’s new Huntington’s disease campus.
Following a successful world record attempt in 2021, where he smashed the record for the longest distance travelled in a wheelchair with one arm, Mark is training for a gruelling upper body ergometer challenge in December.
In 2014, Mark spent 12 months in hospital following a severe stroke which doctors said would leave him unable to eat, walk or talk. He was given a two percent chance of surviving the first 24 hours and woke from a coma after three months to learn that he could not walk or talk.
Mark spent several years at Brightwater’s Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre in East Victoria Park (known as Brightwater Oats Street) and says during his time there, he recognised he had been given another chance at life.
“Over three years, thanks to the amazing team at Brightwater, I learned to do things for myself again – to shower, shave, cook for myself, make my bed – all things I had taken for granted previously,” he said.
“I am passionate about giving back to Brightwater. I owe them everything and I will be forever grateful.”
Mark was told that there were many things he would never do again, yet through the program at Oats Street, he was able to live independently again.
On the eve of International Day of People with Disability 2022, December 2, and under the guidance of Matt Fuller personal training from Lords gym in Subiaco, Mark hopes to ‘travel’ 65km using a machine known as a ‘grinder’ (an upper body ergometer).
His goal is the equivalent of driving from Perth to Mandurah, but Mark is not deterred by the number.
“I want to show those who are at the cross-roads in their rehabilitation after a brain injury that nothing is impossible,” he said.
“I also want to help Brightwater raise money for their new Huntington’s campus and help those who are not in such a fortunate position as myself.”
Brightwater Chief Executive Officer Catherine Stoddard said Mark’s drive was heart-warming.
“We cannot thank Mark enough for being such a strong supporter of the programs we have at Brightwater,” she said. “He was an inspiration while he was with us at Oats Street and his resilience and courage continues to inspire us every day.
“Mark tells us that people think he is training for ‘Mission Impossible’, but as we all know Mark does not recognise the word impossible.”
Brightwater Care Group has a long history of supporting people, and their families, with Huntington's disease.
The Group is building a purpose-built village in Piara Waters and recently called for tenders for construction of the Huntington’s Disease campus which will feature seven homes, providing accommodation for 21 clients.
If you would like to support Mark, and learn more about his fundraising appeal, visit https://marks-mission-impossible-for-huntingtons-disease.raisely.com