First Disabled Person to Solo the South Pole
Fundraising for ARMED FORCES PARA-SNOWSPORT TEAM
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Hi, I am Jonny Huntington, a former GB para-athlete who is aiming to be first disabled person to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole in Nov/Dec 2024. Along the way I am trying to raise funds for four amazing charities that have supported me along the way - the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST), the Adaptive Grand Slam (AGS), and the Invictus Games Foundation (IGF) and Team Forces.
Fewer people have skied solo to the South Pole than have been into space. To date, no-one with a disability has ever attempted a solo, unsupported expedition to the South Pole. In 2024, I am aiming to be the first disabled person to ski solo and unsupported across 911 kms of Antarctic tundra – an expedition I expect will take 40 days.
To mark the launch of my challenge, I am embarking on a mammoth ultra-marathon from Manchester to London on 30 October, to both raise funds and test the resilience of my body by putting it through similar stresses it will feel on the expedition. This is a massive undertaking for an able-bodied person. Add my restricted movements, especially my lower left leg, and it takes the challenge to a whole new level.
Along the way, I will be visiting schools on his route to show local children that anything is possible with self-belief and determination. It's important I use this as an opportunity to inspire children around the country, helping to give young people the belief and confidence to attempt incredible things and live up to their potential.
I joined the army in 2013, training at Sandhurst to become an officer. In June 2014, just eight weeks after commissioning into the British Army, I was in the gym when I suffered a devastating stroke. The neurological damage left me paralysed down one side. It took years of rehab before I was able to walk again, and even then with restricted movement down my left side.
During my recovery, I became a member of the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST), which fuelled my love of cross-country skiing. This led to me to become one of the first athletes in a new GB Para Nordic ski team. Para classifications and my unique physical limitations eventually made it impossible to compete at the highest level, however this experience laid the foundations for my plans to be the first disabled explorer to reach the South Pole.
Through the expedition to the South Pole I am hoping to break boundaries within the disabled community and push the limits of human potential. For me, the South Pole expedition is about challenging myself, about pushing myself further than I've ever pushed my body before.
My hope is that this expedition will highlight that no challenge is insurmountable, whether someone is disabled or not, and hopefully raise significant funds for those organisations who helped me in my recovery and my expedition.