Ollie Blake

This is not a bio that will tell you my favourite colour, where I work and what my birth sign is! I am a product of an unusual upbringing by one of the most adventurous and inspirational people. This should give you a little glimpse into my mother and the motivation behind the trip to Nepal in November 2007.

From the beginning my mother has shown me that life is all about the journey. To this point the journey with my mother has been filled with adventure and opportunity. Imagine a single mother with two small children (ages 6 and 8) working as a receptionist at a local dentist office and a ski instructor at the ski hill to make ends meet. For most people this would be a desperate situation, but small kids and a lack of money did not stop my mother from a few adventures.

We travelled to New Zealand with the little money we had and lived in a trailer on a sheep farm. My mother worked with a sheep sheering gang and picked flowers while my brother and I went to the local school which had approximately 30 kids. In order to see New Zealand we hitchhiked around the country and hiked some of its most spectacular multi day routes. Fast-forward a couple of years, after my mother had worked at a boys’ private school as a matron, we returned to Canada. We packed up what would fit in the car and drove from Kimberley, BC to Ontario for the opening of the National Ski Academy in Collingwood. My mom took up many roles at the academy so that my brother and I could pursue our ski racing dreams.

This is just a brief snippet of life growing up with Pippa! Add to this Multiple Sclerosis, a cane, walker and eventually a wheelchair and you might be inclined to think my mom would slow down. Not so! The outdoors and adventure has always been the motivator for my mom. Since being diagnosed with MS, she hiked up the ski hill every day until it was virtually impossible, sky dived from 10,000 feet and went on safari with her commode in Africa where she was carried by Masai Warriors!

With very little circulation and limited mobility outside a wheelchair, my mom moved to Victoria in order to escape winter. Every time I go to visit, she has a new place, usually a wilderness adventure, which I must see or do. Unfortunately most of these places she has not actually been to or seen because they have been inaccessible to her. Mt. Finlayson, Thetis Lake, Mt. Work and East Sooke are just a few of the places I have been encouraged to go while in Victoria. Finally we have found a mode of transport, the TrailRider, and some amazingly giving people committed to getting my mother to all of these places so she can once again enjoy the great outdoors!

This is what motivates me! I am a product of some incredible experiences and opportunities that would have been inaccessible to me without my mother. I hope I can give back just a portion of these experiences and opportunities and help my mom get to more of the places she, and others living with disabilities, would love to go by making them more accessible.

Nepal here we come!