On January 1st 2010, Dan Eley suffered a tragic accident whilst on holiday in the Colombian Amazon. He dove into a deceptively shallow river, landing on his head and breaking his neck in two places leaving him paralysed from the elbows down.
Dan spent the next year in hospital, recovering from his injuries and facing up to the emotional and physical obstacles of this sudden change in circumstances. After the shock subsided he started to reflect on what had happened to him and the impact it was going to have upon his life.
I first met Dan during his stay in hospital and was pleased to have him as a client of our FES cycling system. I tend to fret quite a bit that clients get plenty of use from their investment but I never had concerns with Dan. In fact not so long ago he completed a virtual FES bike ride of more than 500 miles on his RehaMove FES system to raise funds for charity.
Dan writes about his accident and subsequent rehabilitation "It was a challenging time and I can admit that there were moments when I struggled to find reasons to live on like this."
Writing at the launch of his Foundation, Day says
It’s been a long and at times difficult journey from then until now but I have never been alone. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have such a close, committed family and loyal friends who helped me to realise that life was worth living again despite the limitations of being so severely paralysed.
In fact there are so many of you who have contributed and continue to contribute to my ongoing recovery and it's due to your support and kindness that I have been able to rebuild my life and bring to fruition a long held dream since this devastating event in my life.
This establishment of this charity is the culmination of one year’s dedicated work and planning. Through the support of family, close friends and an inspirational team of trustees it has developed from an idea into a purposeful project which we believe carries real potential.
The goal of The Dan Eley Foundation is to provide employment opportunities to marginalised young people who are in danger of falling by the wayside; forgotten by society and condemned to a life of poverty they are immensely vulnerable to the lure of criminal activity and a life of misery.
All our skills training programmes will be backed up by comprehensive emotional support for both the youths and their families by trained psychologists and counsellors. It is vital that such vulnerable children are shown unconditional compassion, the importance of humanitarian values and encouraged in pursuit of their aspirations. Only under such conditions will they find the hope, self belief and courage to flourish and succeed in life.
If my experiences since my accident have taught me anything it's that there is always reason to hope, no matter how difficult life seems. I am convinced that if we can provide these children with the support and opportunities they need they will find the self belief, hope and desire to succeed in life and that together we can bring about a transformation in their lives in the same way your support towards me enabled me to transform mine.
Learn more about Dan and his charity at www.daneleyfoundation.org. Learn about their vision and mission.