Some Days I Just Feel Like a Slacker

by DavalosMcCormack on September 20, 2010

There are some people who make you look bad just by being themselves. Philippe Croizon is one such person. Philippe just swam the English Channel, a 21 mile stretch of water separating England and France. That’s pretty impressive by itself. But Philippe’s achievement is all the more remarkable because he lost both his arms, and both his legs, in an accident.

Philippe Croizon

Sixteen years ago Philippe was badly injured in an electrical accident. He lost all four limbs. But he hasn’t let that stop him from leading a full, some would say exhaustingly full, life. He swims by attaching flippers to the stumps of his legs and using them to propel himself through the water. He steers using prosthetic devices attached to the stumps of his arms. He wears a mask and snorkel to breathe.

He made the crossing in 13 1/2 hours, almost twice as fast as his support team expected him to complete it.

He trained for the event for years. While doing that he took some time out to make a parachute jump and to write a book, J’ai Decide De Vivre (I Decided to Live) using a speech-to-text computer program.

Amazing Mark

Philippe’s story reminded me of Mark Wellman, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a climbing accident. But that didn’t stop Mark from returning to the mountains and scaling the sheer granite faces of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, pulling himself up one foot at a time on a rope and pulley system.

And there are many other extraordinary people like them, who bounce back from horrific accidents and find a new purpose in life.

For someone like me, who usually needs a week to recover from a hangnail, these people can be  a little intimidating. They’re also amazingly inspiring.


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