'Inspirational' Mary begins climb to the 'Roof of Africa'

A DOUBLE amputee from Carrick will today (Thursday) embark on an epic fundraising mission to scale one of the world's tallest peaks.

Mary Martin-McMahon, who lost both of her legs, is planning to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as part of a gruelling 10-day expedition. She will be part of a team of volunteers climbing the 20,000 ft mountain in aid of LimbPower and Amputee NI Network.

And not only is Mary the only double amputee in the group, she is also the sole Northern Ireland representative in the ambitious excursion.

Mum-of-two Mary said: “I first lost my right leg 19 years ago and what a shock it was. Many challenges came my way and I faced them with everything I had. I achieved my degree from the University of Ulster, BSc Hons in Professional Youth and Community Work and have spend a lot of years working with teenagers in various employment.”

In 2009, Mary needed to have her other leg amputated due to illness. However, with the support of her family, friends and a professional medical team, she all came through it all and is now ready to set off on one of the biggest challenges of her life.

In support of her amazing effort, a charity wine and cheese evening was held at Chapter One Coffee Shop, Joymount, on Friday, which was attended by family, friends and well-wishers, including Carrick Mayor, Alderman Jim McClurg.

The first citizen described Mary as “a true inspiration” and a “prime example of how to overcome adversity”. He added: “Fair play to Mary for taking on such an incredible challenge. Most people would struggle to scale Kilimanjaro with full use of their legs, and that makes Mary’s endeavour all the more inspirational.

“I wish her all the best and think it is fantastic that she is raising awareness for the LimbPower charity, which is not too well known in Northern Ireland.”

Mary was delighted with the turnout at the wine and cheese night and said it managed to raise about 200 - bringing the total amount she has raised to almost 3000. “I want to thank everyone who (continued 6) came along and offered their support. It was very moving and I am extremely proud to be taking part in this event.

“As well as being part of the LimbPower, an English-based charity, I will also be representing Amputee NI Network, which supports all amputees in Northern Ireland.”

Mary is due to fly out on her incredible adventure today, and the remarkable climb to the “roof of Africa” is set to start tomorrow (Friday). The expedition will follow the Rongai route, starting just south the of the Kenya-Tanzania border, across farmland, forest and several different climate zones.