If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same

Running at dawn on a silent Copacabana beach. Land sailing the Pampas of Barreal, at the foot of the Andes mountains. Snowboarding high in the Swiss Alps. Cross country skiing through Norwegian snow fields. Offshore yacht racing on an angry Atlantic Ocean.These experiences defined the first six months of 2010. It’s weird now that I’ve written this down, but the first half of 2010 was pretty good. I’m not sure I really took it all in at the time. Either way, the second half of the year has clouded my memory of how life was. I have spent the second half of the year almost exclusively flat on my back in hospital. Paralysed, blind and broken… 

I haven’t written a blog since the 14th of October because I didn’t know what to say. I thought things were getting better. I thought the infections were behind me and I could just get on with rehab.

But as the tide of positivity was rising, I was hit with another infection. And then another. And another. IV drips, fluids, antibiotics, fevers, vomiting and a couple of weeks in bed each time. I had lost three stone and with it the will to go on. It was too exhausting to experience, never mind to write about.

Often I couldn’t even bring myself to explain to my family what was going on. Shortly before I was due for some rehab leave I had a couple of procedures to try and sort out the cause of the repeat infections, which were followed by sudden chest pain. I was diagnosed with a swollen heart lining and blood clots on my lungs. This was subsequently corrected – a misdiagnosis. Oh, and nearly forgot about the painful lump that appeared just under a scar on the back of my head where I fractured my skull in the fall.

The last six months have been truly torturous and until now I have been unable or unwilling to look to the future. I spent twelve years filling my life with experiences that would sweep the blindness to the side. And I know if I don’t do the same with this paralysis then it will dominate me.

It is time to give myself a reason to push on. A dream, a goal and a plan. It took a decade to find something to finally deal with the demons of
blindness. 43 days in Antarctica and a race to the South Pole did it for me that time.

This day two years ago I remember sitting in our tent on the Polar plateau in blizzard conditions. Simone had downloaded a poem onto my iPod: ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. Different lines meant different things to me on the way to the South Pole. Now I am drawing from it again as I look to the future.

I’m not sure what my next South Pole will be to beat my paralysis, but the search has started and a life of sitting in my house with periodic visits from a carer is not an option.

(Go to this link for the poem on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpcNFll5yOM)

If By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

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66 Responses to “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same”


  1. 1 Darragh December 31, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Mark, thanks for sharing that. I’ve thought about you a lot this year and your continual hunger and search to not let things overcome you continues to inspire. I wish you and Simone every good wish and luck for 2011 and look forward to another pint with you soon!

  2. 3 Vanessa Lawrenson December 31, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Don’t really know what to say Mark. Tears trickling down my face but uplifted and inspired. Good luck in 2011.

  3. 5 Dearbhaile Baldwin December 31, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Mark
    I wish u all the strength , and good health for 2011 god knows u deserve it. You inspire me even though i dont know you, i think u are a courageous person.
    Hope 2011 is a better one for you and ur family xx

  4. 7 Tracey Blanchfield December 31, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You and me both, sir. My life descended into hell almost 3 years ago now. My boy was killed in a car crash. I was driving. I am only now starting to look my demons in the eye…. So don’t be too hard on yourself, it only took you 6 months to give yourself a push on ;-)

    You are my real life honest to God hero, and if you can keep going then so can I.

    When you’re in hell…..

    I wish you strength of body and mind.

    Tracey Blanchfield.

    • 8 Mark Pollock January 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      Tracey – I am so sorry to hear about your boy. As you can tell by my blogs I don’t have the answers but I can only suggest seeking out inspiration from whatever sources we can. I wish you luck with your journey. Mark

  5. 9 John Aiken December 31, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Mark,

    God bless you and take care of you and Simone
    – wishing you both a so much better 2011!

    “By the living Gawd that made you,
    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”
    – Kipling (Novelist, poet, short-story writer, antifeminist and a militant Tory jingoist – perhaps “the most complete man of genius… I have ever known.” – Henry James)

    Happy New Year, Mark

  6. 11 Pascale Claes January 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Mark, you are an inspiration. You may not want to hear this, but you are. So much of my own life is put right back in its true perspective when I read your blog. And for this I thank you.

    I wish you the very best for 2011, whatever form it may take. And I hope we meet again soon in Dublin at a K. Sounding Board session.

  7. 13 Cathal de Barra January 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Mark – thinking of you, at this new dawn. Look forward to catching up with you and Simone soon. Happy New Year. Cathal

  8. 15 Michael Mooney January 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Mark
    Hello from all in St.Margaret’s National School where You launched our Green Flag almost two years ago. We often talk about you and how you were an inspiration to us. I cannot but send you our very best regards and hopefully you will find the strenght to continue being positive .May 2011 be a year when we hear much good news from you. Happy New Year. Michael Principal

  9. 17 Danny January 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I didn’t know who you were until today when a Mary Gadam’s post on FB mentioned you. You are indeed an inspiration and someone I’ll will be following from now on. I’m sure you will find a way to continue making your life meaningful despite the blindness and paralysis. Wishing you the very best … and continue to be strong. As someone said …”you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

    • 18 Mark Pollock January 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Danny, Mary Gadams organised my first ever endurance race – The Gobi March (www.racingtheplanet.com) – and I think what we learn from the tough times in adventure races is going to help me through this challenge. I suspect that you are an adventure racer if you are on Mary’s FB group?

  10. 19 barnaville January 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Its sad to hear of your pains in the last six months, but your determination is wonderful. Positivity must be hard to come by, yet you still have it. Fair play to you, I really would like a better 2011 for you. You continue to inspire so many, keep it up!

  11. 21 Cian O'Loingsigh January 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Mark,
    I have thought of you many times since your last blog on October 14th and wondered how you were. Sorry to hear that you have been going through such a rough time but it is great to see that you are determined not to let your condition dominate your life. You have been an inspiration to many, now it is us who need to will you back to recovery and I hope that 2011 will be a huge and positive turning point for you. I met you at the 2009 Dublin Marathon which I ran blindfolded for charity and I hope to see you out and about planning your next South Pole in 2011. With your determination and positivity you can do this. Take care, Cian.

  12. 23 Paula Lodge January 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

    To Mark and Simone
    Nothing we do is done alone..
    May all your wishes come true…
    Blessings for a peaceful 2011..
    Paula,Pete,Oliver and Jamie XX

  13. 25 Sinead O'M January 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Have told my little boy & girl about you Mark and even though they’re very small I want them to know what sheer determination, will and courage ‘looks like’ and in every sense that’s you! Very best wishes to you (and yours) in 2011 and for the future.

  14. 27 Bambi January 6, 2011 at 2:37 am

    Mark honey lovely to hear your voice again, keep on talking as a first step please.

    Mark Baldwin mentioned in an email recently that this poem reminded him of you so I wanted you to have it. I think the “head bloody but unbowed” seems to describe your current condition exactly.

    Finding a goal is a funny one, sometimes it is a flash of inspiration, sometimes it takes a while to hit on something that fits exactly what you need to do.

    Invictus by William Ernest Henley

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    • 28 Mark Pollock January 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      Bambi, that line is definitely on the money – Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. Very bloodied for a while but things are clearing now! I slept under the quilt you made us – thanks! Mark

  15. 29 Marie January 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Mark, you don’t know me from Adam, but I have been dipping in and out of your blog over the last few months.
    I know you are a having a really tough time now, but nevertheless you took the time to write the blog – thank you. That was a big step forward.
    Keep fighting Mark – you are up there with the best.
    Every good wish to yourself, Simone and your family for 2011.

  16. 31 Frances Keane January 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Mark your determination and perseverance is hugely inspiring, I continue to be awe struck by your attitude and I truly believe you will reap the rewards you deserve. Thank you for keeping us updated, you are in my thoughts a lot. We are all plugging for you. Let us know if there is anything we can do even from a distance to help keep your spirits up.
    Warmest Frances

    • 32 Mark Pollock January 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      Frances, thank you for writing and for supporting me. I look forward to the time when this is a small part of my memory and just a story in my talks like the blindness is! I look forward to seeing you soon. Mark

  17. 33 Bobby Black January 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    You remind me to keep fighting everyday.

  18. 35 Niall O'Connor January 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    So happy to hear you back online Mark – we are listening, and thank you for the inspiration.

  19. 37 Niall O'Connor January 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Great to hear you back online Mark – we are listening, and thank you for the inspiration.

  20. 38 Tony McManus January 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Mark,

    I missed your voice and so glad you updated your blog. I’d check in everyday to read an update and for so many months nothing. At times I felt let down, where is he, why no update? I worried (and I don’t know you nor have I ever met you) you see thats the effect you have on all of us. Your life, courage and strength has touched so many, all we can hope for is our collective thoughts help you just a fraction as much as you inspire us.

    Take care,

    Tony

  21. 40 Sharon January 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I first saw you on the Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy and you were a true inspiration. I’m sorry to hear of your accident. I’ve been following your progress with hope for you. Knowing what you’ve achieved in the past I have great faith in you that you will conquer this set back. You are an inspiration and life will be different for you and yours but you can do it have faith in yourself. I wouldn’t be surprised if you head to the moon! Take care and keep up the positive spirit.
    Sharon

  22. 42 Tom Kennedy January 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Mark, TK here man. I have been following your blogs, as Padraig, the other guy you met with me in Bowe’s pub before the Snow Patrol gig, forwarded me all the blogs you have written. Remember Mark you are a Champion – the 1st blind person to reach the Pole – so you will conquer your latest set back in life. I am confident you will be back doing exciting adventure sports again and sooner rather than later. So best of luck Mark to You and Simone also and remember I am ready with my guitar to celebrate you return to the so called “normal” world.
    As they song says “the going up is worth the coming down” and of course you lost me at normal! Give it loads and you will soon be on the starting line of some major sports event somewhere exotic and all that nervous energy it brings to our bodies will carry you through ……. Rock on. Give it socks. TK

  23. 43 Sinead Murphy January 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Welcome back to cyberville, it’s great to hear your update. Your silence was deafening for a while there. I’m sorry to hear how tough it’s been but I have so much faith in your strong will that 2011 will better for you. You’re still inspiring us all and have captured our hearts.Wishing you & Simone health & happiness for 2011. I hope you get to come home soon. Thinking of you alot. Your talk in Griffith was so inspiring, I do hope you can return to what you’re great at. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you on skype talks and the likes in no time.
    Years ago, my dad shared this poem with me that I’ve always loved for its sentiment & simplicity. It’s no Rudyard Kipling though…

    The Man Who Thinks He Can
    by Walter D. Wintle

    If you think you are beaten, you are;
    If you think you dare not, you don’t.

    If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
    It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

    If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
    For out in the world we find

    Success being with a fellow’s will;
    It’s all in the state of mind.

    If you think you’re outclassed, you are:
    You’ve got to think high to rise.

    You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
    You can ever win a prize.

    Life’s battles don’t always go
    To the stronger or faster man,

    But soon or late the man who wins
    Is the one who thinks he can.

    Best Wishes,
    Sinead

  24. 44 mathieu norry January 28, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Mark, im trying not to come up with words that patronise. Purely and simply can i recognise your immense struggle, not merely in overcoming your blindess but attempting to deal mentally and physically with this second trauma in your life. Alot of people breeze through life not appreciating the good fortune they have, i include myself in this category. Your ridiculously unfair plight has remained with me since i first became aware of yor accident. I wont simply offer words of encouragement here, as there is no shortage of them in other peoples’ comments on this blog, I do think you have the mental resources to pull yourself through, and I urge you to keep digging deeper. Think of me as a cheerleader on the side of the pitch, no one can play this half for you except your good self. Keep going keep fighting.

  25. 45 Matthew Gray January 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Hi you were on the news this morning and i just had to have a quick look, I am really amazed at your strength and determination, it is really sad to read about how you and your life have changed so much, yet saying that know how well you are doing
    Good Luck Hope 2011 is better for you!

  26. 46 Morag Harvey January 29, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Mark I have no concept of what you’ve been through,but I wanted you to know that you are an inspiration. Your honesty has moved me to tears,and has also given me that metaphorical punch between the eyes!!!! Especialy when I feel sorry for myself.
    You have a wonderful gift of communication, and as long as you have breath in your body use that gift to the Max!!!
    Very best wishes

  27. 47 david January 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Hi Mark
    A year ago last week I woke one Monday morning to find that I was completely paralysed from the upper chest down to my toes. A mis diagnosed infection had compressed the spinal cord around the T5 area. Why, why, why? The consultants told me I would never walk again but they did not know me or my wife. I now walk with the aid of a stick and I know in my mind and heart that I will dispense with the stick. My wife has been the most supportive rock in my recovery. The medical people I dealt with are amazed at the results.

    I have read all your blog entries and I know you will succeed in overcoming this next phase. Being out of the rehab unit after seven months is the hardest challenge. I suffered badly from depression, drank alcohol very heavily, the infection came back again then went.

    My wife is not as eloquent as Rudyard Kipling but just as effective.
    She would say, and still does,
    “Stop crying”
    “Try harder”
    “Just one more step”
    “You will do it”
    “I’ve thrown your crutches away”
    “I am sending the stair lift back to the supplier on Monday you better learn to walk up those steps”
    “I love you”

    The stair lift has gone as have all the ramps and OT aids there is still a long way to go and your story inspires me at a time when I have pushed the depression to one side and I am embarking on a new chapter in life, I need to lose plenty of weight, learn to play the piano and concentrate on my work.

    I look forward to reading your blog and hearing about YOUR continued improvements both mentally and physically.
    Best wishes
    David

  28. 48 Nana GoGo January 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I`ve just seen the segment on BBC News about you which brought me here. I`m not going to offer you platitudes or patronisations – I just wanted to let you know that some little old lady from a fishing village in the East Coast of Scotland felt compelled to let you know how much your story touched her and that the next time she complains about the aches and pains of old age, she will think of you and everything that you`ve gone through.

    I wish you and your very beautiful Fiancee, Simone,the utmost blessings and happiness for both your futures.

    Keep going, Mark.

    Anne

  29. 49 Sally Ann Holmes January 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I’ve had a sub-arachnoid brain haemorrhage and my husband left me after 22 years of marriage. I felt absolutely suicidal, but survived and thought I was a strong person, but my plight was just a tiny pinprick compared to yours. You are so amazing and truly inspirational.
    I can’t believe how life can be so cruel to you, but seeing you and your fiancee on tv this morning I know that you will be positive and live your life to the full, you will find a way to achieve this, you’ve got just got to.
    I couldn’t stop crying this morning, but that doesn’t help does it?
    Mark, I will not have anymore self pity for myself, you have helped me so much without even knowing it.
    By the way I live a couple of minutes from Rudyard’s place in Burwash, East Sussex. One day you should come here and feel the peace.
    With so much love
    Sally Ann

  30. 50 James Heale January 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Hi Mark, I saw your story on BBC news last week and felt so inspired by it I turned it into an assembly for my students at Sandringham School, a large 11-18yrs comprehensive in Hertfordshire. The students were very moved by your story.
    The theme was Resilience and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. I have to confess to making a link between you and my favourite toy, Stretch Armstrong, but that is for another time.
    Two close friends of mine spent the best part of a year in Stoke Mandeville Hospital over ten years ago, both paralysed from the neck down in two seperate accidents. Coincidentally, one of them now does some motivational speaking too. I wish you all the best in your recovery and the next stages in your life. Maybe one day we can get you to come and speak to our students.
    All the best
    James Heale
    Deputy Headteacher
    Sandringham School

  31. 51 Naseem Khan February 1, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Wow! I think you are an amazing person – I only recently heard about your accident when telling friends of how in awe of you I was while watching your trek to the south pole. I was feeling sorry for myself tonight and wandered on to your blog – I find you truly inspirational and you made me realise how I take everything I have for granted. The small trials and tribulations of my life are put nicely into perspective when reading your story and I would like to thank you for sharing. I don’t have any inspirational words from my own experiences I’m afraid, I can only plagiarise from others more word wealthy than I. This is a poem I was told about years ago I hope you don’t find it patronising.
    This is the beginning of a new day , I have been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging
    a day of my life for it! When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain and not loss, good and not evil, success and not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it. I will try just for today, for you never fail until you stop trying.
    I wish you every success in your recovery and hope you get to squeeze every drop of happiness out of the rest of your life!
    Best wishes,
    Naseem.

  32. 52 Claire Carruthers February 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Mark – been following your progress with much admiration, of your incredible determination and resolve. Haven’t seen you for seems like 30 years, with memories of your Inchmarlo uniform but Barbara has been updating us weekly via Audrey & Walter. It was great to see you on Breakfast and ‘meet’ Simone at last who we have heard so much about. Wishing you both much love and luck for the next stage of your journey. Claire

  33. 53 Dave Brown February 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Mark, 10 years ago I was caught up in a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia at the age of 32. I totally lost my sight and right hand. I haven’t done as much as you and feel embarrassed that I haven’t, a couple of half marathons, tandem riding a bit of hill walking and skiing and that’s about it! 3 years after my incident, my brother had a paragliding accident and was paralysed from the waist down! Your story has inspired me to get off my sorry backside and do the things I’ve always thought of doing and will hopefully help my brother at the same time. You sound like one hell of a man and one day it may be my privelage to meet you.

    All the very best,

    Dave

  34. 54 Effie February 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Mark and Simone, I am on my own journey navigating mental illness. When I saw you on the BBC my heart went out to you both and at the same time you lifted me with your love ,courage and honesty. Know that when you share a spark alights inside many, many souls who would otherwise feel utterly alone.x x

  35. 55 Gary February 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Mark,

    I often think of you and always am looking for an update.

    How are you getting on.

    Maybe a pint some day.

    Regards,

    Gary McElroy

  36. 56 Cindy Impey February 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Dear Mark,

    I cannot find the words to say how your story has made me feel. I was introduced to your story when I visited a secondary school last week and as the teacher gradually unfolded the events leading up to your fall in the school assembly, the hall was silent with all children totally engaged. I am a Deputy Head at a Primary school in Hertforshire and not one day goes by when I do not count my blessings. I am an extremely positive person but it’s easy to be so when life is good to you. You are an amazing inspirational individual and I wish you all the very best. I will follow your blog and look forward to seeing your progress and if you do not mind I will ask my pupils to do the same. I realise I am not adding anything to your life but I just wanted you to know you have had an impact on mine.

    Cindy

  37. 57 Karen Hamill February 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Mark,

    You don’t know me from Adam, but I attended one of your motivational talks at Ulster Bank a couple of years ago, and was genuinely inspired by your story.

    I am not sure where I have been for the last 8 months or so, but in the course of recommending you as a motivational speaker for a forthcoming conference I learnt of your tragic accident last summer and am finding it difficult to comprehend or understand the reason behind the injuries that have befallen you.

    I pray and sincerely hope that your drive, determination and positivity which has inspired so many others, will allow you to overcome your present challenges.

    I wish you all the best for 2011.

    Karen

  38. 58 Alix Mulholland February 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Have never met you but i remember you were at Inst. I was at Victoria, and the reason i knew your name is because a friend of mine really fancied you!! Almost 20 years ago now of course…

    Anyway heard recently about your motivational speaking and more recently about your accident. I just wanted to send you my very best wishes and that you will have strength and courage in abundance as you face the future.

    Alix Mulholland

  39. 59 Andy Jones February 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Hi Mark
    Sounds like it was an incredibly tough end to the year, I’m glad you seem to be over the worst. You have been such a inspiration to me when dealing with the minor problems in my life. I often come in to contact with people who have spinal injuries and always direct them to your blog, they never fail to be inspired. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, it means so much to so many people. I wish you all the best for 2011 and will be following your progress with great interest. Besos, Andy.

  40. 60 Vivien Bond February 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I had worried that things were bad after the silence from October. I do so wish you luck and better health in 2011. Take care

  41. 61 t.ciollileach@nt;lworld.com April 17, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Hi Mark Wow you are a truly incredible perrson and such an inspiration to all who meet you. Today is the first time I have ‘met’ you and I will never forget you. Withour realising it you give strength to all around you. I have two young boys Enzo who is 6 and Dante who is 4. I will be sharing your story with them. I am also sending you a big massive hug and smackeroooo kiss. Tania x

  42. 62 Aine May 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Mark,

    I met you once on a train/bus journey to Belfast. I’ve seen you since in various media articles and find you truly inspirational (which you’ve obviously heard before). I’ve just seen you on the Late Late Show and am so sad to hear about your accident, I feel very angry for the hand you’ve been dealt, however so very much admire your strength and positivity and determination to get well. I wish you and your fiance all the very best for the future and your continued progress with your recovery.

    Wishing you courage and tremendous happiness.
    Aine

  43. 63 Emma Mullane May 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Mark,
    I’m a 23 year old student from limerick and can’t begin to comprehend what you and your loved ones have had to deal with. All I can say is I’m incredibly moved by your story and so inspired by your remarkable mental strength and the support of those around you.. I’ll never forget ur story and more importantly ur strength and wish you and everyone close to you the very very best for the future.
    Emma

  44. 64 Martina May 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I was watching you on the Late Late Show last night and was so admirous of you. I hadn’t heard of you until then but I so admire you and your inner strength, not forgetting the lovely Simone. I had an epilespy seizure a few weeks ago in which I fell unconscious, lost my sight for 2 days, and had some minor back injuries. You have given me the will to keep my strength going and I wish you the very best in “Project Walk”. When I was confident in my youth I used to say to others “Live Life to the full at present, look forward to the future with hope and anticipaton” so I’m very hopeful that your goals on “Project Walk” will be achieved. All the best for now.

  45. 65 Sarah June 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Mark
    A beautiful poem and so true. I first heard about your amazing adventures when I joined the irish adaptive rowing squad over 2 years ago and have been so inspired by everything you’ve done. I am also visually impaired and have found it fascinating seeing what you are doing in America at the cutting edge of technology. It was great seeing you on the dreaded erg again too! I hope everything is going OK and you’re still in fighting spirit, will hopefully see you out in a boat in some future blog…
    Take care and keep up the great work.
    Sarah

  46. 66 Lúc Verling June 17, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Hi Mark

    I’ve just found out about you through Elizabeth O’Kane’s bust. Been reading your blogs. I love that spirit of adventure and of laughing in the face of horrors. That’s a great spirit you’ve got! Just don’t feel that you’ve got to be winning to be valued! I can state categorically that God the Father etc…. What maybe concern me more than your physical challenges are your psychological and even spiritual ones. I might not be the saintliest bloke, but I’m adopting you in prayer to God who may just listen!


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