On April 23, one of the world’s most prestigious and massive races - the TCS London Marathon* - will start in London.
ROMAN KASHPUR. My challenge in support of the wounded who lost their limbs!
My name is Roman Kashpur, I am a Ukrainian, an active serviceman wearing a prosthesis, a volunteer, a participant and ambassador of the Cyborg Program of the Citizen (Gromadyanyn) Foundation, born on February 8th, 1997. After finishing 11 grades of school, I enrolled into Khmelnytskyi National University, Human Health Department (specialty: physical rehabilitation and fitness trainer).
But when the war broke out in Ukraine, I couldn't stand aside and started helping. At first, as a volunteer, I raised funds for the army, and then decided that I was capable of doing more.
In 2016, at the age of 19, I volunteered to go to the east of Ukraine to defend my country, because even then I realized that the enemy had to be stopped at the doorstep, not allowed to enter the home!
On May 16th, 2019, while performing a combat mission, I stepped on an enemy anti-personnel mine and lost my right lower limb as a result of the explosion.
However, psychologically, my amputation did not break me, because when I went to war (especially in reconnaissance), I was clearly aware of the risk and what could happen, so when my foot was amputated, I did not blame anyone for anything.
After being injured, from the very first day, I tuned myself to one thing: I will live an even more active life than before the injury, I will run as never before.
When I first stood on the prosthesis and took the first steps, I realized that things were not that bad, and that although the prosthesis was an "artificial" limb, I could live with it fully and both run and walk on it!
Nine months after the injury, my rehabilitation was completed and I was fitted with a "permanent, everyday" prosthesis. Immediately after the fitting, I went outside and ran my first 50 meters. I will always remember that run as the day when I got convinced that amputation is not the end of life, it is only a new challenge that will either break you or make you strong!
2020. My first crossfit competition for adaptive athletes. I won in the pro category. That victory motivated me greatly, and I realized how important it was to open up to people instead of isolating myself, and to be involved in social projects.
I would like to point out that sport is extremely helpful in the psychological and physical rehabilitation of people whose health was affected by the war. All of our actions depend on an overabundance of energy (emotions), i.e., the type of emotions that overwhelm us, the actions we take. How did sports help me? It was a surge of energy, the release of happiness hormones, and getting overwhelmed with positive emotions. Two huge advantages are: influx of energy and health benefits.
2021. I took part in a national Ukrainian competition organized by the Games of Heroes project. I won in three categories: pull-ups, long-cycle kettlebell push, and crossfit.
The record of Ukraine in the nomination "Pulling an AN-26 airplane (16 tons) by a person with a disability" was how I started my motivational journey for severely wounded soldiers.
Why is it important for me to motivate people? Because it gives me pleasure and enhances my life rhythm, and most importantly, I know a simple axiom better than anyone: the best motivation is the one done by a person who in the past found oneself in a difficult situation. By doing something!
With deeds rather than words.
After the full-scale invasion, I evacuated my family from Kharkiv to the safest place and returned to the frontline on prosthetics as a volunteer. At first, I was part of the KRAKEN special unit, and then we were transferred to the Armed Forces in the 92nd brigade. Currently, I am training, volunteering, instructing people as part of the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade.
I am trying to show with my own example that an amputation is not a sentence, a prosthesis is not a limitation, and disability is just a record on paper that does not restrict you in any way!
When a person with arms and legs comes and starts saying: "Everything will be fine! You will succeed!" - this is important, but not enough. What is truly helpful is an example of a person who has already done his/her journey from being wounded or having an amputation to a comeback to active life. Only such person can show that amputation and prosthesis is not the end, not a limitation, but just a new page in life.
Now in my country there is a war for our existence. And we will win! After our victory, programs like the one launched by the Citizen (Gromadyanyn) Charitable Foundation will be very much needed. (https://ctzn24.com/en/)
We will have to spend a lot of time exercising with prosthetics and helping people with PTSD return to normal life through achievements in sports, work, and personal life. One needs to have a goal and learn to control emotions. That's what my mom taught me. Now I understand her.
In addition, I would say that I have two sons. And I definitely cannot set them an example of a disabled person who, having lost a limb, gave up. On the contrary, I motivate my children to always get up, no matter how hard one falls, and no matter how hard it is, but one must get up and carry on!
My next challenge is to run the London Marathon 2023 to raise awareness about assistance to wounded soldiers who have lost limbs, to raise additional funds for state-of-the-art prosthetics and rehabilitation and social support programs for the Cyborgs.
My deep gratitude to the grassroots charity British-Ukrainian Aid (https://www.british-ukrainianaid.org/) for supporting fundraising to help Ukrainian wounded with amtuations and severe wounds.
WE INVITE UKRAINIAN AND
FOREIGN BUSINESSES TO JOIN!
Any amount matters.
Many thanks to everyone involved!
Strength is in the Unity of Many!
* TCS London Marathon holds the platinum status of the International Association of Athletics Federations (World Athletics Elite Platinum Label Race). It is one of the organizers and oldest members of the Association for International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).
In terms of significance, the London Marathon equals the World Championship, given that its participants are the fastest marathoners in the world.
About 40,000 athletes participate in the marathon race of 42,195 km (35,914 participants overcame the marathon distance in 2021) annually.
London Marathon record: 2:02:37 Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya, 2019.
The first marathon in London took place in 1981. In 2005, the London Marathon left AIMS and organized a league of Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM), which includes marathons in Boston (Boston Marathon), Berlin (BMW Berlin Marathon), Chicago (Bank of America Chicago Marathon), New York (TCS New York City Marathon), and Tokyo (Tokyo Marathon).
The London Marathon race starts in the Earth’s eastern hemisphere at Blackheath near Greenwich. It runs through the districts of London on both banks of the Thames, which Tower Bridge crosses. The route finishes in the western hemisphere on the Mall, which connects Buckingham Palace with Trafalgar Square.
The time limit for the marathon distance is 8 hours.