Justin Coomber from Century City has started a 2 500km solo cycling journey to raise awareness and funds for children with disabilities.
Justin, 22, began his journey last Friday in Musina, Limpopo, from where he is cycling back to Cape Town.
He has given himself roughly a month on the road and is following what he calls a “rough route”, which he says he will gladly deviate from if there’s something interesting to see.
Justin chose Musina because it was one of the furthest points away from Cape Town within the country.
Armed with a tent, stove, mountain bike and two-minute noodles for the first few days, Justin plans to “take each day as it comes”.
He hopes to draw support on crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, and reach his target of R150 000.
The money will go to the non-profit Warrior on Wheels Foundation that helps children with disabilities do outdoor adventure activities.
As a child, Justin faced his own battle with a neurological disorder that left him paralysed.
“I contracted transverse myelitis when I was 9. One day I got out of bed and collapsed on the floor.”
Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord. It interrupts the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. It left Justin unable to walk and wheelchair bound for a few months.
He was home-schooled for the bulk of his schooling career.
With the help of physiotherapy, braces and a lot of hard work, he was able to walk again although permanent scar tissue and nerve damage has affected the way he walks and runs today.
“I had to adapt,” says Justin, who makes a living as a documentary photographer.
With the outdoors as his office, he has learnt to adopt a “different style” of running and walking, as he is unable to lift his heel completely off the floor.
“This is a challenge I want to face and overcome and hopefully inspire others to get out there and challenge themselves as well. To not be complacent with what we have.”
He will be capturing his journey in photographs and plans to auction them to raise more money for Warrior on Wheels.
Founder of Warrior on Wheels, Deidre Gower, says she is thrilled for Justin and that the NPO is behind him all the way.
“We are always in need of equipment so the money will go towards that and to a number of our projects.”
Justin will give daily updates about his journey on social media and he encourages people to follow him.
For more information about Justin’s journey and to make a donation as well as track him live, go to justincoomber.co.za
Follow him on Instagram at @justincoomber and Facebook at Justin Coomber photography.
For more information about Warrior on Wheels, go to warrioronwheels.co.za