NOT many people are willing to walk the 2400km from Durban to Cape Town, but for amputee Paul Steyn it will be a career highlights as he raises funds for his fellow amputees while boosting awareness nationwide.
After losing his right leg 14 years ago in a lawnmower accident as a teenager in Gordon’s Bay – where he still lives – Steyn, 27, decided he would dedicate his life to assisting other amputees.
Three years ago Steyn realised his goal and established the Paul Steyn Foundation in Gordon’s Bay.
The registered non-profit organisation raises funds through various projects, but mainly through Steyn’s long- distance fundraising walks.
He now faces his biggest challenge – the “Man of Steel” walk from Durban to Cape Town over 120 days, starting in February.
“I will walk on average 30km a day, although I will have to take several rest days – it will be one of my career highlights. I’m doing this to give other amputees around the country hope and support.
“I realised as a teenager that there wasn’t much support for me, and I told myself one day I would provide support for others in the same situation. So after I finished my tertiary studies I started the foundation to do exactly that,” Steyn said.
The foundation’s main purpose is assisting disadvantaged amputees to get prosthetic limbs, which cost between R10000 and R60000 each.
It assists only the most needy people. It does not help anyone who has access to medical aid, or has the prospect of a Road Accident Fund payout.
The Man of Steel route, mostly through rural areas, passes through Pietermaritzburg, Richmond, Matatiele, Mount Fletcher, Rhodes, Barkly East, Cradock, Kirkwood, Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay and Knysna.
“I will be visiting community projects, missions and schools to talk about prosthesis work. The foundation will identify people along the route [in advance] to receive prosthetic limbs.
“We don’t have the final names and numbers for the needy people who will be assisted, but it will be about five people a town.”
Steyn will hand the prostheses over formally at each centre. – Tremaine van Aardt
If you want to help, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.