I recently had the distinct pleasure to meet a local entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author. He had emailed me through the KDLC website, asking me if we would be interested in participating in a local fundraiser for the Kamloops Y Women’s Shelter. I was definitely interested but lacked the spare time to respond that day, and promised myself I would get back to him as soon as I could.
But this gentleman was persistent, which you have to be when you are trying to raise money for any good cause. And within 24 hours, he decided not to wait for me and called to follow up. At first I wasn’t sure what this was all about, but he carefully and patiently explained who he was and why he was calling. And soon, without even having all of the answers, he had me hook, line and sinker on his fundraiser, “Swim all the Wai.”
It is a clever play off of his name, Wai Hung Ma, and he has challenged himself to swim 2 kms on August 19th to raise money for the Women’s Shelter.
For some, a 2 km swim might not seem like much, but for Wai, who has cerebral palsy, it is rather epic. CP is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills and Wai has always pushed himself beyond these so-called limitations in everything he does.
As a motivational speaker in schools, hospitals and at conferences, Wai uses a power point presentation, voice recordings, and hand gestures to assist in communicating his message. And then in 2007, he published a compilation of his speeches into his first book called, “Breaking Limitations.”
He has developed a 20 minute DVD, “How to be a Better Bully,” aimed at kids in Grades 6 – 10 focusing on raising awareness and making better choices. His second book in e-book format, “Motivation,” is based on Wai’s life and how you can find inspiration to live your life to the fullest just as he does.
And he has physically challenged himself as well previously training for and completing the Kamloops Cattle Drive. From his Facebook post:
In 1994 I pushed my body to the limit train my body to sit on horse for five to six hours a day to get myself for Kamloops Cattle Drive. The first day of the cattle drive I rode ten hours. The process of the training for the ride was painful and emotionally but I did it. 23 years later I find myself sitting here putting a support team together and pushing my body to the limit once again. Trying to swim 40 laps by midsummer and raise fund for a good cause. Man what I get my self into. I know it will be painful and emotional More details yet to come.”
Within a couple of days I was meeting him for coffee and he thought I was just there to talk to him about his fundraiser. But in truth, I had to tell him how inspired he made me feel. He’s already done so many things that I have never dreamt to do. And he did it with the drive, determination and positive attitude of an Olympic athlete.
He has been training hard, increasing his swimming strength, coordination, and endurance at the Kamloops Y with the help of his coaches, and he posts his results on Facebook on a regular basis.
But this time, he isn’t satisfied with just challenging himself. He laid out the challenge for all of us at the Labour Council.
He wants people to donate a MAXIMUM $5 (yeah, he got all Bernie Sanders like) to the Kamloops Y Women’s Shelter and it couldn’t be easier than clicking on the donate button here: http://www.kamloopsy.org/y_womens_shelter.htm
He wants us to share his Facebook event with members, friends, family and co-workers, so they can join the challenge too webcal://www.facebook.com/ical/u.php?uid=720511910&key=AQDWttEGHN3J0A7A
Or meet his challenge by swimming, running, walking, biking, climbing whatever you are able bodied to do, as a team or by yourself, but pledge to challenge yourself somehow on August 19th.
At the end of this challenge, Wai already knows his next steps. He will write his third book on this experience and I am hoping that he will have an incredibly successful story to tell.