For over a decade Mark Pollock was known as an inspiration, an adventure athlete competing in the world’s harshest environments despite being completely blind.
As part of regaining his identity after losing his sight he chose to take on spectacular challenges. He has survived the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica as he raced to the South Pole over 43 days. He suffered the scorching heat of the Gobi Desert, completing six marathons in one week in “The Race of No Return”. He has competed in races on the frozen Arctic Ocean at the North Pole, through the desert lowlands of the Syrian African Rift Valley to the Dead Sea and at altitude at Everest base camp. He also has two Commonwealth Games medals for rowing under his belt.
In mid-2010, Mark’s business was thriving with a full calendar of motivational speaking events ahead. He was in the process of writing his second book and he was due to be married.
On the night of the 2nd of July 2010 everything changed. He fell from a second story window fracturing his skull, some ribs and breaking his back in a number of places. Mark was taken to intensive care where injuries such as bleeds on his brain and a suspected torn aorta one by one healed becoming less and less significant beside the fact that Mark could not feel or move anything below his belly button. An MRI confirmed damage to his spinal cord where two of his vertebrae had burst in the fall. Mark was transferred to the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville in England, where spinal surgeons stabilized the bones in his spine with metal rods.
Mark spent 7 months suffering an onslaught of kidney and heart infections, which brought weeks of temperatures and pain and a 3 stone weight loss. Mark’s bones eventually healed but medicine can do nothing to repair a damaged spinal cord and Mark was discharged to The National Rehabilitation Hospital in Ireland in February 2011.