The story of William Pike is one readers should not have passed by in the paper today. The 32-year-old North Shore school teacher talks about being caught in a volcanic eruption on Mt Ruapehu 10 years ago and his return to the mountain last weekend as an amputee.
It is an inspiring story about not just overcoming a disability but making it an enriching element of your life.
Pike, a keen young mountaineer, was guiding a friend to the summit of Ruapehu. They were settling down for the night in Dome Hut on September 25, 2OO7, when the mountain blew. He went to the door of the hut and a torrent of mud, rock and water slammed into him. His right leg was crushed.
When he woke up in hospital, the leg was gone. He describes what it feels like to lose an essential part of who he was, a teacher and a climber who needed that leg.
He came to terms with the loss, trained himself to walk, swim, cycle, kayak and tramp in the bush with a prosthetic limb. By 2012 he was combining his twin loves of teaching and adventuring as fulltime director of an outdoor education programme and a William Pike Challenge Award inspires others to show courage and resilience.
Married now with a baby, he has climbed back to the Dome Hutt and reflected on his fortune. "This accident has put me down pathways I'd never thought possible," he realised. It helped make him the man he is.