North Pole Now Wheelchair Accessible
Quadriplegic Reaches Geographic North Pole: A Historic First
Press Release Source: Team Independence
Monday April 13, 2009, 10:05 am EDT
TORONTO, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Pole has now been made wheelchair accessible. On April 11, 2009 a disabled parking sign
was raised at the North Pole on the 100th anniversary of the first successful polar expedition. David Shannon became the first person in
world history with quadriplegia and in a wheelchair to reach the Pole. He along with expedition co-leader and fellow Canadian, Chris
"Team Independence 09" to promote breaking barriers to accessibility and greater community inclusion.
David upon reaching the pole stated,
"This sign represents all peoples who have faced challenges or adversity in their lives
and have dreamed of overcoming them. If we as people, work together in our homes, our cities, our countries and in our global village,
there is no dream that cannot be realized."
Chris Watkins who himself was injured in 1988 stated, "David and our team represents the long-shot win of the underdog. But it shows
that there is no dream too big to dream and no challenge to big to overcome. What David has left us with is a world of infinite horizons."
Media is invited to go to http://www.teamindependence.ca for more information and a media package on this historic first North Pole
expedition. A photo of their arrival at the North Pole is available.
During the expedition the team struggled with adversity. In addition to the cutting arctic winds, David's spinal
cord injury compromised his ability to maintain body heat. The week of the final polar push, this heat retention problem was compounded
by a significant infection, which caused increased susceptibility to the life threatening cold temperatures. David and Chris have returned
exhausted and with some minor injuries. For example, Chris suffered some frostbite to his fingers and a cut to his foot. They are recovering
in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway with their team mate Darren Lillington. This is an island still within the Arctic Circle north of Lapland.
They will return to Canada in a few days.