YMCA East Surrey

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Real Stories – Antony

Antony is used to blunt questions from children.

“I just tell them I have a special leg because it isn’t an issue to me. It never has been,” he says.

Indeed, it didn’t slow him down at all this June, when he was one of our fundraising Challengers who cycled 175 miles from Redhill to the Eiffel Tower in Paris in just 24 hours.

Antony, 58, lost his right leg below the knee in a motorcycling accident when he was 23. He now has a small range of different prosthetic limbs which allow him to live life to the full; walking, running and cycling.

Following the Paris event, Antony said: “I wanted to prove I could do it and prove that amputees can do anything they want to. It was a fantastic Challenge and overall it was probably easier than I had expected.

Antony had already run two marathons when he lost his leg. His immediate motivation was not only to get back on his feet and run, but to aim for completing another marathon. In 1999, he ran the London Marathon in 4 hours 6 minutes.

“My health is fantastic now,” says Antony. “I still run – I completed the YMCA’s 5-mile Fun Run in May in 48 minutes – but two wheels have always been the love of my life.”

Our 2016 Challengers have been raising money for the new Inclusive Sports Facility – a multi-purpose disability sports, fitness and wellbeing centre. At the time of going to press, we have secured 75% of our £1.9m target with the aim of starting building work shortly and opening to the public in 2018.

The facility will welcome people of all ages and abilities. We aim inspire and support those least likely to participate in, but with most to gain from, physical activity, encouraging them to be active and healthy. This is a cause close to Antony’s heart.

“A lot of people in general – not just those with disabilities – don’t realise what they can do. It’s really important to offer them all the encouragement they need. I think I would have been just as driven if I hadn’t had my accident, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have had so much fun.”

“I want to inspire other people to get out there and challenge themselves. I tell them that you can achieve anything in life, but you’ve got to want it.”

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