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An appetite for adventure

No limits: Lloyd Valentine, with Tom Dow. “This is about showing what people are truly capable of when they face challenges.” Details: https://老站出售mycause老域名出售备案老域名/events/challengetom Picture: Simone de PeakTOM Dow has never hesitated to push himself to the limit.
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With surfing,mixed martial arts, skydiving, V8 super car racing, ziplining andparagliding under his belt, it’s hardto think of a hair-raising activity he hasn’t attempted.

Now Mr Dow, 29,who has a rare and severe neurological disorder called Leigh Syndrome, is taking his appetite for adventureone step further. He is goingtandem kite-surfing betweenNobbys andMerewether Beach.

Mr Dow’sfriend Lloyd Valentine said the event wasthe first in theChallenge Tomcampaign, which asks the community to make a charitabledonation in ordertocast their vote for which of two suggested activities they would like to see Mr Dow attempt.

“Tom wants to change people’s misconceptions about what people with a disability are like,” Mr Valentine said.

“Tom does not see himself with a disability, he just sees himself as someone living each day to the fullest.”

Mr Dow, whohas mobility in one arm and uses a letter board to communicate, willcomplete the challenge on March 12 or 13.He saidhe wanted to try kite surfing because it was a “new sport” and was feeling both“nervous” and “good” about the attempt.

He relishedbeing near the water because it “cleared myhead” and helped him feel relaxed and free.

Mr Dow’s supportershad been asked to choose whether he should kite surf to raise funds for the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation,or compete in a sailing race against a celebrity for Sailability.

Backers of both options donated more than $1000 combined, which will be given to both charities.

Mr Dow’sconditiontypically arises in the first year of life and affects the central nervous system.

It includes the progressive loss of mental and movement abilities and typically results in death within a couple of years.

Mr Valentine said 95 per cent of people with Leigh Syndrome lose their life by the age of six.Mr Dow’s sister Laura also had the condition and died at that age, in 1995.

“A lot of people may feel sorry for him, but Tom doesn’t feel sorry for himself,” Mr Valentine said.

“He wants people to come up and say hello to him.Tom gives as good as he gets!

“Heplays wheelchair rugby once a month, goes surfing once every six weeks and sailing on his own up to three times a week.He doesn’t let anythinghold him back.”

Mr Valentine said he hoped the community would suggest activities they would like to see Mr Dow attempt. Only skydiving,bungee jumping and running a marathon are off the cards.

They are also seeking sponsors to help with the cost of completing eachchallenge.

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