Cerebral palsy student aims high

By Alisha Lewis

Jordon Milroy. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Jordon Milroy. Photo / Brett Phibbs

An Auckland University of Technology student with cerebral palsy will reach new heights when he climbs all the steps in the Sky Tower in a bid to raise disability awareness.

Jordon Milroy, 22, has battled the challenges of cerebral palsy - a condition caused by brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during pregnancy - all his life. On April 17, he will take on another challenge, climbing all 1267 steps in New Zealand's tallest building.

It's a big deal for someone who often uses a wheelchair to get around. However, although Mr Milroy's mission might be massive, his aim is simple.

"I hope that people learn a bit more about cerebral palsy and disability. And I hope to get to the top alive and in one piece."

To ensure he does make it to the top, he has been training intensely for the past year, climbing 14 levels of steps in his apartment building almost every day as well as going to the gym.

Mr Milroy said maintaining a positive mindset was crucial.

"Mentally, I have been telling myself I am able to climb it. Believing in yourself is the most important thing."

He has also been receiving help from Carabiner, a mentoring programme for youth with disabilities and an initiative of the YES Disability Resource Centre.

"It works by setting goals," Mr Milroy said. "Mine was to do with sports and they match me up with somebody in the sports industry. We work on this goal together."

Carabiner co-ordinator Cam Calkoen said he was inspired by Mr Milroy's "desire to make a difference".

"His passion and vision are second to none, but what I really admire is how he's looked at the bigger picture and said, 'How can I use this to create awareness about disability?"'

Mr Milroy has also been fundraising to buy off-road wheelchairs for disabled youth in Samoa. He said it was a project that was close to home.

"Growing up in Samoa and having a disability means access is a big barrier in normal everyday life. Knowing first-hand about this, I wanted to give something back."

With just over a week to go, Mr Milroy said that despite feeling "a little bit scared", he was looking forward to the big day.

"There's a fire burning inside me which can't wait to climb this baby."

- NZ Herald

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