Athletes take on Iron Man chal

Ryan Baisley, Warren Bigara, Toby Nzuza, Ruan Jordaan, Darayn Rowe

Athletes take on Iron Man challenge to raise funds for ten-year-old double amputee

There’s no stopping Ubuko Mpotulo, so these good Samaritans are going the extra mile to help him.

Athletes take on Iron Man chal

Ryan Baisley, Warren Bigara, Toby Nzuza, Ruan Jordaan, Darayn Rowe

East London boy, ten-year-old Ubuko Mpotulo has not had an easy start to his life.

At the age of three, Mpotulo underwent a bi-lateral amputation and finger amputation when the lining of his blood vessels became damaged and obstructed his narrow arteries and eventually cut off his blood supply owing to Meningococcal Septicaemia.

Ubuko Mpotulo

Despite this, Mpotulo has shown determination and resilience and has been awarded a bursary to attend Selborne Primary.

Mpotulo wins hearts wherever he goes

Wherever he goes, Mpotulo makes an impact with his perseverance and gentle nature.

“I finally met Ubuko and those of you who have had the privilege to meet him will understand that he only has to look at you once and you are done, the mischievous smile and determination in his eyes caught my heartstrings,” says prosthetics specialist, Marissa Nel.

Marissa Nel and Ubuko

Nel has personally committed, jointly with Ossur, to cover Ubuko’s medical costs that are going to amount to about R148 000 a year.

His future

Until Mpotulo stops growing, around the age of 18, his prosthetic sockets will need to be refitted and changed at least 14 to 16 times.

According to Nel, because Ubuko is growing, his socket will likely need to be changed in the next 6 to 8 months, when he will require alignment adjustments and replacement of some of his prosthetic parts.

BackaBuddy fund

Mpotulo has inspired a group of Round Tablers from East London who have chosen to take on the Iron Man challenge on 27 January to raise funds that will contribute towards Mpotulo’s ongoing medical costs.

“Ubuko’s character and perseverance to improve himself are unmatched. He isn’t simply adapting to his prosthetics; he has relished the opportunity to seize his moment and make it count. Not only has he taken each step in his progress with enthusiasm, but he has also flourished,” says Round Tabler, Ryan Baisley (37).

The team of athletes

For the past six months, the team has met three or four times a week at 4 am to train for one of the toughest endurance events – a 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bicycle ride and 42.20 km marathon without breaks.

“Out of the seven athletes competing, four are novices to the Triathlon world and many of us started off as being really unfit. On the days when our legs were in pain from 60km cycle sessions into blistering hot headwind, we would remind ourselves how Ubuko feels every day and the discomfort he has lived with his whole life,” says Baisley.

To wish the team luck, Ubuko will meet the whole team, many for the first time, at the Ironman Expo, where he will also have an opportunity to view the latest triathlon gear and equipment and experience the exhibition before the event takes place.

“We hope the public will continue to support our BackaBuddy campaign. We may not be able to change the entire world, but by trying to change Ubuko’s world, we might make a difference in his life that inspires him to pay it forward to the next person that deserves it,” says Baisley.

Support Ubuko by donating on BackaBuddy here.

Watch more about Ubuko’s story below

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