Thursday, 5 February 2015

Greg the Navy man

Gregory Faure.
I had the privilege of meeting, Navy diver turned computer based training facilitator, Gregory Faure. In the year of ’98 Greg fell asleep behind the wheel, just 1 km from home in Kommetjie, crashing into two trees. Sadly he was left paralysed from the chest down. He was just 34 years old, married and with an 8 year old daughter.

His greatest fear at first was the unknown of how he was going to cope in society and how people might look at him being in a wheelchair. The hardest part about coming home for Greg was the feeling of perhaps his family wasn’t as well equipped as the hospital was.

Greg returned back to work after 8 months in hospital where he was welcomed with open arms. He wasn’t treated any differently by his colleagues and that gave him the confidence to be back at work. He is hugely thankful to the Navy! And I might add that he does look dashing in his navy uniform.

Greg with his wife, Penny.
Gregs’ marriage fell apart, due to the strain that such a disability can have on a relationship. He was then reunited with his ex-girlfriend Penny. They will be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary this month by both taking part in the Midmar Mile. It will be Greg’s fifth swim for this event and Penny’s first. The Midmar Mile is the world’s largest open water swimming event. They are running a fundraiser with 10% of the proceeds going towards the Chaeli campaign, and a much needed new van for themselves. You can find out more by clicking on the below link.

The biggest challenge for Greg was getting back into the water, but now he can often be found swimming at the gym. A young film crew approached him after a swim at Virgin Active, and filmed an inspirational video of Greg (see the link below, it's a must see!). He loves exploring the Cape coast with Penny, as well as going to game reserves and doing road trips. Greg has always been a man of adventure, before his accident, he would spend time scuba diving and snorkelling.

Last year for his 50th, his friends strapped him to a surfboard, and took him out into the water at Muizenberg beach. Check out the video attached link! He doesn’t let his disability stop him from living his life to the fullest, and is truly an inspirational man.

I asked him what he wished he had known when he had the accident. He told me that he wished he had known that it gets better and that he was only going to get stronger. His advice to those going through what he did is to ''never say never, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.''

His main concern for those with disabilities is that not enough is being done for them. "There are not enough public transport, shops, and public spaces being adjusted for those in wheelchairs,’’ he explained to me.

It was an absolute pleasure to be able to sit down with this man, and get to know him. I hope that this story leaves you feeling a little more inspired to get out there and experience life, wheelchair or not!


Naomi said...

Such an inspirational person <3

schappeartgirl said...

two of my favorite people on this planet. love you guys- and JUST KEEP SWIMMIN'!!!!!! XO L.

Carol said...

Pen & Greg, two of the most lovable, caring, happy and inspiring people I know - getting older and getting stronger!