You’ve already heard one part of this amazing family’s story (if you haven’t then click here!), now it’s time for part 2! You see this family is so inspirational I had to know more about them. So, grab a cuppa, get comfy and prepare to be so inspired you’ll soon be signing up for the next triathlon.
Has there been a challenge which has been more special or significant to others?
Each race/challenge has been as special as each other. All as equally demanding and all have had their own special unique bonding moments between Rio and I. The endurance desert obstacle races were a learning curve for me as it was the first time I had to ‘share’ Rio in a challenge. I struggled with that but I also learnt from it. It was beautiful to witness other people’s reactions who joined our team, and even though they were there to help Rio they too equally got something unique and special from the challenge and a bond with Rio which instantly made them see why we do what we do!
What has been the toughest challenge?
I sometimes think the biggest challenge is our own perceived limits, our own fears, and our own doubts.
We believe there is no limit to what Rio can be included in, only our own inability or limitations for trying them!
What are your most prominent challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
To be totally honest, out of all the demanding physical challenges we’ve been involved in as #TeamAngelWolf, I can honestly say the most prominent challenge we have faced on this journey is seeking sponsorship! To be able to release, produce and maintain #TeamAngelWolf free community activities as a non-profit entity, it can only work from a financial model based on partnering with corporates through sponsorship. Seeking sponsorship has been a serious challenge, more so than the physical ones we have entered and always completed! Within our sponsorship menu there is something that most companies can contribute towards. What we are finding difficult is when we approach a company, unless you get to connect to the person at the top that can make the final decision, you have to go through the whole painful protocol procedure that can take months. It then always seems to end with the statement of, “Lovely project, but we do not have a budget available for this year”.
We are very passionate and determined about this project. We know that we will be helping so many others and we also know the project is a great advertising, PR, and marketing tool for companies. So we do as Sir Winston Churchill famously advised to do, ‘K.B.O’ (Keep Buggering On!). We will do this!
What are your goals and what drives them?
Our goal is to spread our mission messages as far as we can. #TeamAngelWolf Mission messages:
- To encourage awareness, acceptance, inclusion, integration and equality of people with disabilities within our community.
- To inspire the community to take responsibility for their own health (physical,nutritional, environmental, and self-health).
- To instigate the importance of teamwork.
- To motivate individuals to recognise that anything is possible and to use that belief to make a difference in the world.
We want the vision and mission of our projects to also help the community and families of Dubai to come together to work towards:
- Assisting Dubai to be one of the world’s most disabled-friendly cities by 2020.
- Reducing the alarming statistics of obesity and diabetes in Dubai.
We spread these messages and vision through:
- Participating in fitness/sports races and challenges (always including Rio).
- PR exposure of our mission.
- Social media.
- School inspirational talks (we have spoken to over 8,000 children).
- Corporate motivational talks (we have spoken to over 1000 corporates).
- Community activities that encourage integration and good health!
What and when is your next challenge?
This season we are planning on doing even more and helping more people with the #TeamAngelWolf community activities, to help encourage awareness and integration of people with special needs within our community, as well as providing a platform of possibility for our community to become fit and healthy. We have many exciting, fun, and interactive community activities planned this season.
We need to purchase 8 disability running chairs and 7 floating wheelchairs for two community projects we plan to release.
The disability running chairs will be for the #TeamAngelWolf ‘Together We Can’ program that we will launch. For the weekly activity, we pair up teams of 2 (a volunteer runner athlete with a volunteer person with a disability). Paired teams then join the weekly group runs together using the specialised disability running chairs. These paired teams then also have the option to use the specialised disability running chairs to join in races, similar to what #TeamAngelWolf have been doing.
The floating wheelchairs are for a weekly program called #TeamAngemWolf ‘BeachBlast’, where we invite children/adults volunteers to give an hour of their time to interact and assist children with disabilities that also volunteer their time, so that at the beach and in the sea they can have fun, games and races together with the use of the floating wheelchair.
These two activities will give some ‘time out’ and rest to the immediate families of the person with a disability, as others volunteer their time to take over for a while. More of this is desperately needed for the families that have a child with disabilities!
We are also launching #TeamAngelWolf ‘Community Tri Together’ program. The goal is for our community to be inspired by #TeamAngelWolf’s participation in races with Rio, which in turn will encourage others to take responsibility for their own health by incorporating fitness into their daily lives. Although the desire is there to become healthy many do not know where to start. So these group sessions will be an opportunity to provide our community with an easy access to fitness. This is ideal for those who want to have a fitness goal, want to give it a go, but need the help and motivation of being amongst a group of like-minded people in order to motivate each other. This they can do by joining in #TeamAngelWolf group ‘Community Tri Together’ activities in swimming, cycling and running at free venues like the sea, Nad Al Sheba bike track, Al Quadra bike track, and running track at the beach. People in the community may choose to join this program possibly with the goal of eventually joining the ‘Together We Can’ program, but want preparation time to build up some fitness level and confidence with a group running session, before running and pushing a person with disabilities. The purpose of these meetings is to provide an opportunity for people to get together, to exercise together and to motivate each other. This will aid in getting society to take responsibility for their own health which will, therefore, aid in reducing the numbers of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in Dubai.
We are also in talks with some international organisations to get #TeamAngelWolf involved in awareness campaigns in other countries that have been affected by war or extreme poverty that in turn disability may not be seen in such a positive light. This would be a truly incredible thing for us to be able to do.
On a personal goal when Rio turns 15 the dream goal is to return to Kona, Hawaii to repeat the Ironman there with Rio as #TeamAngelWolf. To complete the original dream, that started 14 years ago.
Your advice for anyone else competing in competitions?
If this is your first competition, then enjoy it, have a go and just enjoy it!
If you getting into races join a community training to help with the motivation, it really does help! Get training guidance from a coach of the activity you are participating in, to make sure you are doing quality, structured training sessions and not wasted mileage of unnecessary hours and sweat! They should also be able to give you top tips for prep and race day!
Most importantly have a go, enjoy and be a role model to our next generation! Here are a few short video stories to give you a taste of what we do (these are a collection of last year’s achievements). Just click on the following links.
- Our first ever race; where the story begins
- A mix of achievements of races we completed last season
- Rio’s little sister, Tia, racing a duathlon and taking Rio with her
- Rio racing solo
- Rio swimming with horses
What an amazing family! Thank you #TeamAngelWolf for all that you do our community and beyond. We couldn’t be prouder to be your sponsors and we can’t wait to follow the rest of your incredible journey.