Quadriplegic on Top of Machu Picchu

2.24.2017
a woman smiling
Curated by
Kristen Sachs
Content via In The News
Source: 
In The News
Curated by
Kristen Sachs

Philip is no stranger to taking on the world in his wheelchair. His travels and adventurous spirit have taken him to the far corners of the earth. But his recent achievement of the view atop Machu Picchu is the capstone on his list.

“I thought I’d achieved something when I got to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia, took a junk boat out in Halong Bay in Vietnam and explored the medinas in Morocco. I even scuba dived in Hawaii. But Machu Picchu was the most incredible thing I have done.”

Philip is a C4-5 quadriplegic, and to get to the top of Machu Picchu, he required assistance from two carers/friends, Emiliano and Marcos, who carried Philip in his wheelchair for nearly 6 hours during the ascent. “People doing the climb were looking at us thinking we were crazy," shares Philip. "“I can’t believe that my friends did that for me. They carried me and I could see how exhausting it was for them. That climb involves millions of stairs made out of rocks and the paths are pretty much impassable for wheelchairs."

Still, the trio persisted, and when they got to the top, their hard work was rewarded with a breathtaking view.

Two men stand next to a man in a wheelchair atop Machu Picchu

“I’ve been to a lot of countries where wheelchairs should not go,” says Philip. He even acknowledges the dangers these kinds of inaccessible destinations can pose. “All my doctors think I’m crazy," he shares. "They all know the risks for me if I had been dropped, especially in a third world country. Something like that could mean the end for me, ... but I just put my concerns aside, otherwise I would never have done it.”

And sometimes, the risk is worth the payoff. That's certainly been the case for Philip.

“Some people have said I’m inspirational and I’ve never thought of myself like that. But after Machu Picchu I thought my story might inspire others, which is why I am happy to tell it."

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