New challenge for blind adventurer
A blind adventurer who was paralysed in a freak accident is to embark on another challenge.
Mark Pollock, 36, who lost his sight 14 years ago, almost lost his life in 2010 when he fell out of a two storey window while sleep walking.
Before breaking his spine the Co Down man had already overcome adversity to win two Commonwealth rowing medals, complete six back-to-back marathons in the Gobi desert and become the first blind person to trek to the South Pole.
Determined not to let paralysis hold him back any more than he has let his blindness limit his ambitions, he is now aiming to sail across the Irish Sea.
Accompanied by Co Down sailor Tiffany Brien on the challenge, he is hoping to raise money for the Mark Pollock Trust and disabled sailing charity Belfast Lough Sailability.
The trust is raising funds to assist with the costs specifically associated with his spinal injury - including a team of care specialists, physiotherapy equipment, visits to recovery centres and wheelchairs.
Paralysed from the waist down, Mark said his aim was to defy the odds and walk again.
"This will be my first big physical challenge since I was paralysed so I am really looking forward to giving it my best shot," he said. "I used to sail before my accident so I can't wait to get back out on the water."
The challenge is scheduled for the beginning of June and the pair will be sailing a specially-adapted Skud yacht which Tiffany purchased for Belfast Lough Sailability following her own fund-raising sailing efforts four years ago.
"Mark is a real inspiration so I am honoured to have the chance to participate in this challenge alongside him," she said. "His determination is infectious and I have no doubt we will achieve our goal of crossing the Irish Sea to raise valuable funds for the Mark Pollock Trust and Belfast Lough Sailability."