29 year old Christchurch teacher, Ryan Pearce has gone from a wheelchair to a wetsuit and credits his goal to take part in the State Harbour Crossing on 2 December as a key ingredient in his recuperation.
Ryan teaches year 5 and 7 students at one of three Christchurch schools to be merged, South New Brighton, and when he impresses upon his students the importance of goal setting he speaks from the heart recounting his own difficult journey over the last 12 months.
Late last year he underwent surgery for a spinal AVM which in non medical terms means a varicose vein on the spinal cord. If left untreated it would have squeezed his spinal cord to the point where it would have cut it.
Sport has always been a huge part of Ryan’s life and so the 10 weeks he was reliant on a wheelchair for his mobility were very challenging. It has been a long, hard road and he is not yet fully recovered but can now move with the assistance of a stick. He still relies on a brace for his right foot and has limited mobility so is a long way from competing in triathlons again. Between 1997 and 2000 he was in the NZ Junior Triathlon team and had also been a competitive swimmer.
“I am really grateful to have had this goal to swim the State Harbour Crossing – that really motivated me in my recovery and has already delivered huge benefits both physically and psychologically. My family and friends are proud that I have gone from being unable to walk to the point where I am taking on a challenge that most able bodied people would find tough.”
Scott Rice, State NZ Ocean Swim Series, Event Director says,” This series is about encouraging people to give it a go. There are not many better role models than swimmers like Ryan who has literally gone from a wheelchair to a wetsuit in a relatively short space of time.”