Fearless, adventurous, courageous are some of the words used to describe renowned ability-activist and Plumstead resident, Michaela (Chaeli) Mycroft.
As the inspiration behind the Chaeli Campaign, a social justice foundation changing society’s views on the capabilities and role of disabled children, Chaeli, 23, has dedicated her life to pushing boundaries.
Born with cerebral palsy and a degenerative neuropathy, Chaeli is the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, and the first wheelchair athlete to finish the Comrades Marathon.
This year she takes on the #BetChaeliCan’t challenge, which is all about creating awareness about the abilities of disabled people as well as their inclusion within society.
On Monday April 9 the challenge will see her embarking on a grueling 75km endurance challenge on horse-back through Meerendal wine estate, a location best known for hosting the Cape Epic. She is set to complete the journey tomorrow, Friday April 13.
Funds raised through the #BetChaeliCan’t challenge will support the Plumstead-based Chaeli Cottage Pre-School, anenrichment centre for disabled and non-disabled children, many from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Physical therapist and professional animal wrangler, Sarah Manning says riding a horse is going to push Chaeli to the limits of her endurance. “Chaeli’s going to need to work ten-fold more than your average, able-bodied person. Her body has to continuously work against its own muscle tension and against gravity to stay upright. Now add to that a horse – a moving, unpredictable creature – and the difficulty is compounded. This challenge will be immense for her,” says Ms Manning.
The commitment on Chaeli’s side is extensive, but she believes it’s worth it to raise funds for the Chaeli Cottage Pre-School.
“We want your bets! People can #BetChaeliCan’t by donating money to betchaelicant.com All contributions go towards providing access to education and facilities for disabled children, and creating an inclusive learning environment where pre-school children learn together by playing together, growing ability and inclusion activists at the age of 4, 5 and 6,” says Chaeli.
* The Chaeli Campaign was started in 2004 by Chaeli, her sister Erin and friends, the Terry sisters, Tarryn, Justine and Chelsea. Its mission is to inspire society to be more inclusive.