Mile Stojkoski: Continuing the journey through Germany01.06.2012
Mile Stojkoski from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is travelling over 5,000km to London in a wheelchair to raise awareness about issues facing people with a disability. Each week, his Project Manager, Vladimir Pandovski, updates paralympic.org on their progress.
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Our team reached Stuttgart in Germany, and Mile has stacked up over 2,000km using his wheelchair ‘til this point. He is far from tired or discouraged. With a heart of a lion he grabs every bit of asphalt ahead knowing more than ever the world’s attention is upon us, reading our journey as a struggle against disability, depression and exclusion.
Mile is pushing each mile to show life is about ability, expression and friendship.
Switzerland Part 2 - Winterthur to Schaffhausen (26-28 May)
Happy to say we did our final length in Switzerland on Mile’s Ultramarathon to London with two more successful activities.
Mile was invited by a local motorcycle club Vukovi – Switzerland to visit their annual motorcycle rally event happening on 27 May.
In 1996 Mile was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a car ending up with a spinal cord injury and paraplegia. This happens to many motorcyclists and the level of risk and injuries are immensely above the level for car drivers.
As solidarity on our journey we receive support from many motorcycle clubs and Mile runs a campaign for safety of motorcyclist in general traffic. Promoting humane values and being ambitious to improve image of motorcycle clubs, Mile is recognized as an ambassador for motorcyclists throughout Europe.
He wishes to motivate as many people with disabilities who are motorcycle enthusiasts to ride tricycle bikes (trikes) and join clubs where they can socialize, travel and live a quality life.
What a sight! In the green fields near Frauenfeld 2,000 motorcycles were shining in the sun, huge tents covered sitting areas and a stage was ready for the night’s performers.
After hanging out and having fun, Mile was called to the stage to explain who he is, where he is headed and why. The moto campaign message was clear, safer and better driving prevents accidents that lead to disability and even after such an accident life can go on without discouragement and with full potential.
Schweiz Paraplegik Zentrum Dr. Guido A. Zach – Nottwil Switzerland (28-29 May)
In the early morning we continued to finish our final length in Switzerland, 35km to Schaffhausen. We were excited about what came after that day. As Mile finished his marathon we got in the car and drove back to the Luzern area, to the small town of Nottwil. There we were guests of one of the most advanced centres for rehabilitation of people with injuries leading to disabilities in the world.
That’s right, in the world.
The centre has a capacity for 144 patients for which there are over 1,000 people employed as staff. All needs for recovery from an injury or illness are in-house in this large complex.
Besides surgical facilities, physical and occupational rehabilitation there is capacity for hotel services and sports. Many Paralympic athletes and teams come to Nottwil from around the world to exercise and prepare for the upcoming competitions, including the Paralympic Games in London.
All organizational roles of its human resources are specialized meaning everyone is an expert in his/her own field. At the Institute, named in honour of the creator of all this, we saw Dr. Guido A. Zach, who was also part of this complex to provide research focused on improving surgery, treatments and medical practice, no doubt giving many renowned physicians around the world an upgrade of their knowledge and skills.
After our tour and lunch we had nice lounging time in the centre’s piazza and we were ready to leave with our heads full of ideas and information. Mile’s long-term ambition is to initiate such centres for rehabilitation for people with disabilities in the Balkan region.
Starting Germany, Geisingen to Stuttgart (30 May - 1 June)
Our car trip towards the German border was very conversational and pleasant. We arranged a meeting with the Europe’s biggest motorcycle club GREMIUM in Germany to welcome Mile at the border and help us with logistics and survival through Deutchland.
Mile’s first length was from Geisingen to Villingen-Schwenningen travelling 18km, and next was Villingen to Tubingen pushing for 38km.
On day one we slept as guests to the Gremium MC in Tuttlingen and for day two in Villingen. We are lucky to receive their support considering we started this ultramarathon without any substantial sponsors or governmental financial support.
Today we completed a marathon of 46km from Tubingen to Stuttgart and tonight we are staying as guests to the members of Gremium Ludwisburg MC.
In total we will travel through Germany for 16 days (30 May - 15 June) through Germany crossing a route of 894km through Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Manheim, Frankfurt, Bonn, Cologne, Dortmund, Duisburg and Essen.
Our biggest excitement will be in Bonn where we visit the International Paralympic Committee.
Mile in his wheelchair will pass at least 600km, which averages a minimum of 37.5km per day. We think that shouldn’t be too hard…
Deutchland has just begun.