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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grant Korgan South Pole

Grant Korgan South Pole

Grant Korgan South Pole - Paralyzed man reaches South Pole, A paralyzed man from Incline Village, Nev., is said to be the first adaptive athlete to reach the South Pole. Grant Korgan traveled about 75 miles in sub-zero temperatures using a device called a Sitski. He made it to the pole on the 100-year anniversary of a historic expedition. A film on Korgan's journey is expected out later this year.

Grant Korgan hopes to accomplish two amazing feats. First, he hopes to become the first adaptive athlete to reach the South Pole. More significantly, he hopes to stand once he gets there. "When I wake up, and I can't feel anything below my belly button and can't move anything below my belly button, that is a very intense place to be," Korgan said before departing on the trip. "This is one of the many things I will do to recover from this injury. But the goal for myself is to gain all of my recovery back to a 100 percent, and I am gunning for 120 percent."
In March 2010, while snowmobiling in the Sonora Mountains, Korgan overshot a jump and suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebrate.

The 33-year-old from Incline Village plans to reach the South Pole on the 100-year anniversary of the Terra Nova Expedition, which was led by Robert Falcon Scott and which arrived on Jan. 17, 1912. The Terra Nova group was among the first to reach the South Pole.

Korgan's expedition, which is in Antarctica now, has been giving daily updates via a satellite phone. They're being posted at www.southpolepush.com and on the group's Facebook page.

Korgan started his first sit-ski push in Antarctica on Jan. 7. He is moving his body using chest and arms -- 100 miles in a sit-ski chair specifically designed for the trip.

His expedition party includes paralympian John Davis, guides Tal Fletcher and Doug Stoup, and cinematographers and photographers Steven Siig, Tom Day and Keoki Flagg. They are filming and shooting for a documentary called "The Push: A South Pole Adventure," which will be released later this year.

Korgan and the crew spent months training and preparing for the expedition -- traveling to Spitsbergen, Norway, in May and to Alaska in early December to test equipment and simulate the cold temperatures they're now experiencing.

The South Pole has one of the coldest climates on earth. The average high temperature in January is minus 15 degrees. The average low is minus 20 degrees.

From the sit-ski, Korgan hopes to transition to equipment -- and stand for the final part of the journey.

"To me, this right now is the way I am choosing to recover to the next level. I don't know what the next step will be and the next after that. I just keep moving forward and keep believing," Korgan said. "I can see myself touching that pole."

The Push group hopes to raise awareness for spinal cord injury recovery and help find a potential cure.

A fundraiser collecting $10 donations for each of the 250,000 estimated pushes Korgan will need to reach the South Pole has the potential to raise $2.5 million to benefit the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation and the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. High Fives, which is based in Truckee, helps athletes who have suffered life-altering spinal cord injuries. The Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, is dedicated to finding new spinal cord treatments through research.

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