To Ski or Not to Ski...?
'TO SKI or not to ski?' - that was the question for student Richard Fish.
On offer was an all expenses paid ski-ing trip to Sweden; just a dream for most students - unless they work for Lancashire spinal care specialists Origin!
Richard's answer was obvious - and he's recently returned from a week's skiing in Are, Sweden which didn't cost him a penny.
The 21-year-old is a respite carer with Lancaster based Origin. The company provides live in carers for people with spinal injuries and recently formed a unique partnership with national spinal injury charity The Back Up Trust to provide a carer for its annual skiing course.
Richard, on a gap year after studying sports science at the Alsager, Cheshire campus of Manchester Metropolitan University, joined Origin in September, and as a respite carer lives with disabled clients whose regular carer has taken a holiday.
"I've really enjoyed doing respite care with Origin. They've been a great company to work for," he said.
"The work is varied and always interesting but the chance of joining the ski party was really the icing on the cake.
Richard from Lincoln returned full of praise for the new initiative which both Origin and The Back Up Trust hope will be repeated.
He said: "It was a fantastic experience and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the trip. I found it both stimulating and educational, helping me see life from another perspective.
"Just because you're disabled you can still lead a full and active life," added Richard.
The week was far from a relaxing break though ....
As one of ten carers, Richard helped ensure the seven disabled skiers aged from 20 to 58 made the best possible advantage of the facilities at the specialised skiing centre where specially adapted kart skis were used.
Origin was set up nine months ago by Peter Henry who was injured in a diving accident in 1986. Linda Adamsen from Denmark is the company's care manager and the firm specialises in the recruitment, training and placement of carers working with the spinally injured.
Said Peter: "I know first hand the superb job done by The Back Up Trust and I was keen to find out if we could help them in any way.
"It was suggested that we send a carer with them to Sweden and Richard with his sports background was the ideal candidate.
"The fact he had such a fulfilling experience proves it was a good move and one we will be keen to repeat."
Added Jane Denton, the Trust's nurse network co-ordinator: "Carers are an essential part of our programmes, ensuring those who need personal support with their care are able to take a full part in activities. Origin provision of a carer was an immense help and I hope this will be the first of many occasions we can count on their involvement."
Said Richard: "I was amazed by the spirit of the disabled people. Thanks to Origin, I have not only made some new friends but have also seen first hand what a fantastic job the Trust does."
In fact he was so impressed, Richard's now looking for sponsors to back him in two charity events for the Trust - a sky dive in Nottingham costing £240 and the London marathon which costs £1000 to enter.
This is an archived article and some details may have changed since this article was first published