Following a severe stroke in 2014, Mark Elsing was once told he would never eat, walk or talk again. Yet in 2021 he is about to embark on a world record challenge – the longest distance travelled in a wheelchair with one arm – to raise funds for the place he credits for his life, Brightwater Oats Street.
Seven years ago, Mark had a severe stroke, with Doctors only giving him a two percent chance of surviving the first 24 hours. After three months in a coma, Mark woke to find he could not walk or talk and after 12 months in hospital he was transferred to Brightwater’s Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre in East Victoria Park.
“I recognised that I had been given another chance at life. I embraced it and tried to make the most of a bad situation,” Mark said.
“Over three years, thanks to the amazing team at Brightwater Oats Street, 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.”
Mark’s attempt is for a new world record and to date he has wheeled 4.1kms in 4 hours but plans on doing much more. And he has a lot of support to help him get there.
Former athletes, business identities, sporting clubs and staff from Brightwater, will be on hand to cheer Mark on in the lead up to his world record attempt, which will take place as part of Brightwater’s International Day of People with Disability celebrations on 3 December 2021.
One of the groups throwing their support behind Mark is Perth Football Club, and this week they welcomed him to their gym to officially kick of his rigorous training program.
Fraser McInnes, Community Manager for Perth Football Club said the team is delighted to get behind Mark.
“Mark stands for everything we represent - for being bold, connected and committed.
“Having Mark here today, the attitude he displays and his desire to challenge himself and constantly improve translates directly to our playing group in what we are striving to achieve,” he said.
Perth Football Club will further support Mark, hosting a special charity match day on the 31 July, with all funds raised at the match going to Brightwater Oats Street as part of Mark’s fundraising appeal.
Brightwater CEO, Jennifer Lawrence, said former clients like Mark were a testament to the industry leading rehabilitation program.
“Mark’s story is inspirational, but also a great example of how the work we do here at Oats Street makes an enormous difference for adults who experience a traumatic brain injury,” she said.
“We cannot thank Mark enough for being such a strong supporter of our program – not only whilst he was with us, but since.”
Brightwater Oat Street officially celebrates its 30th Birthday in 2021, which Jennifer says is an exciting milestone.
“Through our program, we have helped hundreds of people like Mark. To look back on what we have achieved in 30 years really is astounding. By pushing the boundaries of brain science, we have been internationally recognised for achieving breakthrough results with people like Mark,” she said.
Mark added that the 30th Birthday of Oats Street was “the perfect timing to do something big, and give back to the place that helped me so much.”
“I never want to stop challenging myself, so why not go for a world record?” Mark said.
Mark will be raising money for the refurbishment of the Oats Street gym, which formed part of his rehabilitation program.
“I am passionate about giving back to Oats Street. I owe them everything and I will be forever grateful. I was told that there was so much I would never do again, yet through the program I was able to live independently.
“I also want to show those who are at the cross-roads in their rehabilitation after a brain injury that nothing is impossible.”
To find out more about Mark’s fundraising appeal and to support him on his challenge go to: Mark's Mission (raisely.com)