SMA UK’s CEO, Giles Lomax said: “I’m absolutely delighted to support Josh and Maxwell taking on the epic challenge of climbing Snowdon to highlight the issues wheelchair users face when trying to access the outdoors, and to also raise £100,000 so that others can have the opportunity to use all terrain wheelchairs.
“What is even more impressive is that Josh and Maxwell will be racing each other up the famous mountain with a hope of entering the Guinness book of records for the fastest climb using a powered chair. I hope you all join us cheering on the pair as they aim to summit on June 15th.”
One of Joshua’s first climbs was supposed to be Pen-y-Fen in Wales, which was cancelled when the only pathway he could have used was inaccessible due to a locked gate, with only a stile as an alternative. So regardless of his Magic Mobility, all-terrain wheelchair Josh was unable to make the climb. Much to his frustration, he was later told he’d need to email weeks in advance of his visit, to get the gate on the route opened.
Eventually making the climb at Pen-y-Fen, since then Josh has felt even more driven to highlight the issues of inaccessibility of the outdoors for mobility users.
To add to the challenge, Josh will be racing to the top of Snowdon against his friend Maxwell Mcknight which is hoped to create momentum about the event by raising visibility and encouraging as many donations as possible to the charity. The intention is to raise £100,000 for the purchase of all-terrain X8 wheelchairs, which cost £25,000 each and to fund outdoor activity weekends for people living with SMA.
Fellow racer Maxwell McKnight said “It’s not just a race against my friend and climbing rival. It’s a race for other people’s access and inclusion. With every metre covered, we challenge not just the mountain, but the barriers that confine us, unleashing our spirit of resilience in the pursuit of a truly inclusive outdoors with the funds that we raise.”
Beginning his charitable work with SMA UK, Maxwell who in his first year at Ruskin College, Cambridge, regularly shares advice on matters relating to disability including physiotherapy techniques and life in general by collaborating with several charities. In March last year, he talked alongside Phones 4u founder John Caudwell in an event which raised £2 million, which went towards funding for twenty-five wheelchairs.
Taking between 10-15 people per team to assist Josh and Maxwell to the top of Snowdon, they will carry kit and equipment such as batteries, portable ramps, food, medical equipment, tyres and more. They will also be needed to carry the 14KG for each paramedic bag and 46KG of batteries required for each mobility chair. Josh’s and Maxwell’s condition SMA, means weakness in the hands, arms and neck which will make this challenge all the more difficult.
The race will take place on the Llanberis Path, between them Josh and Maxwell will climb 14.5km in total with an ascent of 1085m.
- £25,000: Could purchase a new all-terrain X8 wheelchair
- £50,000: Could purchase two all-terrain X8 wheelchairs
- £75,000: Could purchase two all-terrain X8 wheelchairs and help fund an activity weekend for adults and children living with SMA
- £100,000: Could purchase two all-terrain X8 wheelchairs and help fund two activity weekends for adults and children living with SMA
Manufacturer Lifestyle and Mobility is providing Max with an X8 powered wheelchair for the race and Sunrise Medical and Nexus Rehab will be on hand throughout to offer medical supplies and support and JOST Explore, will be filming the event from start to finish.
The challenge – #KnowNoBounds
Follow the campaign on Instagram knownoboundschallenge_ and Tik Tok knownoboundschallenge.
L to r: Izabela Palicka, Josh Wintersgill, Mateuz Kolasa, Max McKnight and Joanna Mcknight
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Notes for editors
Joshua Wintersgill is an award-winning entrepreneur, technologist, speaker, lobbyist and campaigner. He founded easyTravelseat following the difficulties he faced when travelling as a wheelchair user and wanted to make travelling safer and more enjoyable for disabled passengers. Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of 18 months, Josh works with UK charities including Leonard Cheshire, Disabled Living and Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK. Forming Able Move Ltd in 2018, Joshua designs and manufactures products including the ableSling and other innovative products, providing wheelchair users with a dignified and comfortable means of being transferred into another seat without being lifted under the arms and legs. Through his many endeavours and work he is shaping the aviation industry in the UK and internationally. He is also part of the Rights on Flights Campaign. He is also an aspiring Paralympian and is training to become part of the Great British Paralympic shooting team, to compete at the 2028 Paralympic Games in LA. His mission is to inspire people to take up sport and to experience the great outdoors.
Maxwell is a young disability advocate, multi-charity ambassador, Butterfly ball guest and university student at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, studying Business Management. In his spare time, he has created a large online following, collaborating with the likes of Ladbible, Tommy Hilfiger and large charities and agencies.
Maxwell is also passionate about business, which he studies at university. During lockdown, he created digital-horizon-views, a drone company, to test his skills and get me started in the entrepreneurial world. He loves working on business-related projects and innovating new and exciting ideas. Competition in business is one of many things that spark his interest. Maxwell is a keen gamer who loves to build gaming PCs in his spare time.
What is SMA?
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a rare, genetically inherited neuromuscular condition that causes muscle weakness and loss of movement due to muscle wasting (atrophy). This may affect crawling and walking ability, arm hand, head and neck movement as well as breathing and swallowing.
There are different forms of SMA, Types, 1, 2, 3 or 4 which is reflective of the age of onset symptoms and the severity of the condition. There is a wide spectrum of how severely children and adults are affected
In the UK there are approximately 1,340 people living with SMA. SMA is passed from parents to their children through the SMN1 gene. In the UK, approximately 1 in 40 people carry the SMN1 gene (Approx. 1.5million people). 1 in every 6,000 – 10,000 births are affected by the condition. One baby is born every five days with SMA. 60% of these would have the most severe SMA Type 1.