Quadriplegic Hikes Twin Falls MauiJune 20, 2016, 7:57 AM HST · Updated June 20, 5:10 PM 0 Comments
Ron Heagy has been in a wheelchair for 36 years as a result of a surfing accident, and his dream of seeing a Maui waterfall up close and personal has finally coming true.
On June 8, 2016, together with an Organization called Access Revolution and some keen local volunteers, Heagy used a specialized off-road wheelchair called the TrailRider to provide him access to the breathtaking waterfalls at Twin Falls.
According to the group, access to remote areas of nature were previously inaccessible to those who live with mobility impairments on Maui.
The TrailRider is a one-wheeled hiking chair that resembles a rickshaw and is powered by two or more able bodied ‘Sherpa’s.’ It is able to navigate through even the most challenging terrain and has been to places like Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp.
Heagy called the experience unbelievable saying, “The TrailRider took me up and over boulders, through streams, we even ascended up and over a large cement irrigation wall. I sat looking up at the breathtaking falls feeling overwhelmed.”
“Wow,” he said, “its been over 30 years since I have seen this kind of raw nature. I was blessed for this unique opportunity to see a beautiful waterfall in person” said Heagy, who is the founder of Camp Can Do Maui.
“Our hope is this event will inspire others with disabilities to never give up on their dreams,” said Heagy. He said his goal is to make Maui’s natural beauty accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Camp Can Do Maui is planned for construction on five acres in Olowalu, Maui. The main goal is to build a sustainable and “barrier free” village-like retreat for people who live with disabilities to enjoy and interact outdoors.
Heagy’s week started with a meeting with the mayor and county officials where he was given the green light to proceed with permits for Camp Can Do. As a motivational speaker, he spoke to local community groups including the ʻOhana and Maui Wheelers at MEO, and nearly 200 youth geared to assist children with disabilities at the Camp IMUA program.
Heagy and Access Revolution plan to be back on Maui in October to hike the Haleakalā Crater with the TrailRider group in the hopes of raising funds and awareness for the Camp Can Do Maui project.
Those interested in supporting the new community initiative are invited to text the word “ron” to 91999. More information is also available by visiting Camp Can Do Maui online at: rollonron.com.
In 2004 Never Give Up was established as a 501c(3) nonprofit. It was the founders vision to encourage and inspire the youth and those with disabilities by supporting and developing programs that enhance dignity, self worth, human potential, and a never give up attitude. This will be the 2nd wheelchair accessible camp of its kind founded by Heagy.
Jordan Kerton, is the founder of Access Revolution, the organization that provided the equipment and support for Ron’s Twin Falls hike. AR improves quality of life for those who live with disabilities by promoting access to the outdoors, recreation and connection to nature. It is a Social Impact Organization based in Canada that works with communities to create their own outdoor recreation programs by providing specialized equipment, training, resources and consulting.