DBF Ambassador, Lady Bader Grant recipient and erstwhile Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, Mari Akhurst is adding another skill to her box of tricks. Already a very successful para dressage rider who will be competing for Great Britain in Belgium next month, Mari has decided to add motivational speaking to her repertoire.
We have absolutely no doubt that this is yet another field where Mari will excel. She is one of the most determined and courageous people you could come across and however tough the going gets, never gives up. Her philosophy is always that things happen for a reason and she remains positive throughout. It was because of this inspiring, can do attitude so reminiscent of Sir Douglas’s own, that we invited her to become an Ambassador to the DBF and we were delighted and honoured when she agreed.
Mari has cerebral palsy, with added complications including ataxia and dystonia, that affects all four limbs and has left her weaker down her left side. As a result her coordination, balance and muscle tone are all affected. She experienced a worsening of her symptoms last year but has upped her physio and core strength training to help to counteract this and now with the aid of a wheelchair (waiting for a name!) to help her independence, pursues her long-term goal to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. As Mari says, she loves a challenge! She is a genuinely inspiring person and her motivational speaking would be the product of her personal experience and come from the heart. Having achieved so much herself and never giving up on her own dreams, she is now keen to inspire other people to follow theirs.
An excerpt of her speech follows below:
During my life I have constantly faced many challenges along the way due to my disability but I have been able to overcome these. I believe that these challenges and the problem solving that I have had to undertake have made me into the person I am today I am constantly told that I am an inspiration and due to this I have decided it’s time to share my story with others and to inspire others to follow their dreams.
We all have dreams what you chose to do to reach those dreams is down to you; you have to make the best decision for yourself. I have one big dream/my ultimate dream and that is to win a gold medal in para dressage at the Paralympics but along the way I had smaller dreams. Such as competing at the Gold para dressage Nationals, winning the Gold Nationals and becoming an International Champion. Mari Akhurst
Mari will adapt her speech to suit the occasion so if you’d be interested in booking her to speak at an event or to a group, school or anywhere else you think her message could inspire, please contact her for more information by emailing:
Funding: As you will have seen from a previous post, Mari has recently been invited to represent Great Britain abroad at Waregem CPED13* in Belgium in April bringing her another step closer to achieving her dream of competing in the 2020 Paralympics. She will have to self fund this – for now anyway – and has recently started a new GoFundMe Page where any contributions towards her goal will be very gratefully received: https://www.gofundme.com/para-europeans-2019
Facebook Page: You can check out news and updates and see some wonderful photographs and videos of Team Mari as they pursue their path to the top!
Blog: A great way of getting more in-depth news and a very honest and readable insight into Mari’s journey and her set backs and achievements along the way.