Sky-high challenge

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 09:38 04/04/2012
Jordan Milroy
Jason Oxenham
STRONG SUPPORT: Jordon Milroy, 22, will climb to the top of the Sky Tower to fund special wheelchairs in Samoa despite having cerebral palsy.

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A "normal guy in a wheelchair" will climb the Sky Tower's 1029 stairs to fund mobility equipment in Samoa.

Jordon Milroy was born with severe cerebral palsy, a condition affecting his muscle tone, movement and motor skills.

The 21-year-old Auckland city resident has a positive attitude the size of the tower and will set out to achieve his feat on April 17.

Mr Milroy will get out of his wheelchair and climb to the observation deck 192 metres above ground and bungy down.

"I'm doing it to raise awareness for people with disabilities and to challenge society that people in wheelchairs can reach their goals," he says.

"The second part is to raise money for wheelchairs in Samoa.

"People with disabilities are limited there because it's a developing country and it's really difficult for them to get out."

Mr Milroy hopes to raise just $5000 to send five "rugged wheelchairs" to Samoa where he was born.

"People donate their wheelchairs to Samoa all the time but they never last because they are standard – they need off-road," he says.

"I've got $500 so far.

"I've got a long way to go but nothing is impossible."

Mr Milroy studies social science at AUT University and hopes to teach more people about disability awareness.

"I want to get rid of the stigmas around disabilities – this is just the beginning of something big," he says.

"Everyone has a different idea about disabilities.

"Some of them are negative and some are so far-fetched that when I hear them I burst out laughing."

Mr Milroy has been handing out leaflets to as many people as he can.

"I printed 405 flyers and every time I see someone I give one to them," he says. "I've got my Facebook page on it with a link to my account and climb details."

There have been mixed reactions towards his goal so far.

"Some people say I'm crazy, some say I'm inspiring and others say I'm wasting my time and that I should stop and do something else."

But the feedback has just spurred the dream on.

"It brings it back to earth – if everyone says it's inspiring you start to think you are special, but I'm just a normal guy in a wheelchair."

Mr Milroy has been training since September last year.

"I live in an apartment and climb 14 levels three times a week – that's my practice but I also go to the gym," he says.

"I have 2000 Facebook followers worldwide so when I'm feeling mentally exhausted I just reflect on how many people are following me and it inspires me to push harder."

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But it's the prospect of doing the bungy that makes his heart skip a beat.

"I should be good, I'm nervous about the bungy down though, you can't practise bungy jumping," he says.

Skycity Auckland employee relations manager Claire Walker says: "SkyCity is proud to get behind Jordan in his courageous climb up the Sky Tower, which we hope will raise awareness of disabilities in New Zealand."

Mr Milroy says it is the recipients of the cause and those he is raising awareness of that should get the spotlight.

"At the end of the day I'm just a guy – I don't feel special.

"I just saw something in need in Samoa," he says.

"I've been given so many opportunities as a disabled person, it's time to give back."

Mr Milroy is determined to send more wheelchairs to Samoa after reaching his fundraising target and climbing the Sky Tower.

"There are thousands of buildings with fire exits – that's a lot of stairs to climb. You have to dream big."

Visit facebook.com/jordonsclimb to support or make a donation towards Mr Milroy's cause.

To make a donation: Mr Milroy's bank account is 12-3011-0361729-00. Use Jordon Milroy as the reference.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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