Catherine’s pursuit of triathlon challenges and smashing through the barriers disability has put in her way
Catherine van Staden had always been a sporty person but her diagnosis of spastic paralysis gave her reason to doubt her capabilities and give up the activities she had always enjoyed.
Spastic paralysis is a degenerative disease. Over time her legs become weaker and weaker and her balance becomes worse and worse, till such a time that she will lose all function in her legs and end up in a wheelchair permanently.
A wheelchair, for Catherine, had always represented a prison sentence. Her biggest fear was a life in a wheelchair and for a long time this thought killed all her dreams and ambitions.
Then in 2012 she joined CBM, and her ideas of her disability started changing. One of her first projects was working on a project that was supplying wheelchairs to disadvantaged people with disabilities. Suddenly she began to see how a wheelchair can give someone freedom instead of being this dis-enabling device she always thought it was.
15 years after she had given up on her dream to be a sports woman Catherine made the decision to set herself the challenge of swimming a mile. Working for CBM had inspired her to believe that life does not stop after a serious diagnosis and she went on to swim the mile as well as compete in a number of triathlons. Her biggest dream is to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii.
In the meantime, Catherine is busy raising funds for her next challenge and that is to participate in the Famous New York City Triathlon in July where the Challenge Athletes Foundation will host their own International Championships. She is aiming for a podium finish for the very first time. If you would like to assist her in competing in New York, please click here .
Catherine is following her dreams and not letting her disability stand in the way.
You can also follow Catherine’s journey on her blog.