We heard from Bader Grant Recipient, Wheelchair Table Tennis Player Simon Heaps, with the news that he has become a double amputee. Simon who has Diabetes developed arterial problems which resulted in him losing a toe, but the decision was eventually made by him, his wife and his surgeon to remove the leg. As Simon says, it was a case of “go big or go home” so they decided to go big…
Sadly, this new amputation has obviously been a setback for Simon’s goal as he was forced to miss competitive play, various qualifying tournaments and much training. However, a setback equals a challenge for Simon, and in true Bader spirit he is determined to fight back.
Losing one leg was bad and life changing, but losing both will only spur me on. Simon Heaps, Wheelchair Table Tennis Player
Because of my long term Type 1 Diabetes that ultimately resulted in me losing my right leg on May 29th 2019, I have suffered another setback by losing my left leg also on January 13th recently. I am now officially a double amputee.
Covid hampered my efforts in playing in International Tournaments around the world and many events were cancelled. I resumed my International Wheelchair Table Tennis career for Great Britain in October and November competing in events in Spain and France which resulted in me entering the World Ranking List at 38, putting me in pole position to gain selection for the Commonwealth Para Games in the Summer of 2022. Unfortunately the outset of the medical problems that caused me to lose my left leg caused me to cancel representing great Britain in Costa Rica in December. My main competition for a place on the England team took advantage and came away with the Gold Medal and subsequently overtook me in the World Rankings making it very difficult for me to qualify for the team although I will not give up until it is impossible to gain selection.
High points of the year apart from gaining my first World Ranking was winning a Gold Medal in the GB Para Grand Prix event in Sheffield in September along with a Bronze followed by 2 Silver Medals in the next GB Para Grand Prix in Chippenham in October. I was by far the oldest competitor in both Grand Prix’s. I made my German Bundesliga debut and my Club Alstersport Hamburg sit top of the table at the halfway stage and I remain the only unbeaten player in the League, again being the oldest competitor.
2022 International Programme
My new disability as a double amputee will not stop me attempting to gain selection for events and climb the world rankings. I aim to return to competitive play in the German Bundesliga on 19th March, followed by tournaments representing Great Britain in Spain and Egypt later that month and then France, Slovenia and Jordan in May. In between the International events will be the culmination of the German Bundesliga on April 23rd where we will attempt to lift the trophy as champions.
All of the above, including my coaching and equipment costs have to be raised as I represent Great Britain on a self funding basis and I rely solely on Sponsorship, Grants, Donations and auction prizes to fund my International career. I am also anticipating having to purchase new GB kit for these events as new kit was introduced for GB on Jan 1st. My previous kit cost me £600 so I will be looking for a Sponsor very shortly for the new apparel which has to be worn in International events.
After the May events I have the European Veterans ( o/40 ) Championships in Rimini, Italy in June and then the IWAS ( International Wheelchair Amputee Sports Federation ) World Games in Sotchi, Russia in October where I will attempt to become Wheelchair Amputee World Champion. There are also many other Para Tournaments around the world on the International Calendar.
Obviously while this setback equals a challenge for Simon competitively, it has also impacted on his finances and fundraising and he will be unable to continue without support. Given the progress he has made during the last year, it would be a tragedy if he was forced to give up now. If, like us, you believe that Simon’s fighting spirit and sheer determination to get to the top of his sport whatever life throws at him deserves to be rewarded and would like to support him, he would be delighted to receive:
- £600 sponsorship of GB kit
- Auction prizes
- Raffle prizes
- Charitable Grants
You can also donate personally to his Go Fund Me Page and will find a link at the bottom of this post. You can be sure that every contribution will be so gratefully received by this utterly committed and inspirational man.
So, I have my ambitions and these will not be hampered by me losing my remaining leg recently but I cannot compete without funding…
Losing one leg was bad and life changing, but losing both will only spur me on, not to let anybody down that has supported me, and make me even more determined to achieve my goals but the hard facts are that I cannot do this on my own.
Thank you for reading the above.
Yours in Disabled Sport
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