Published: 24/02/2016 By Angela PetersIn this instance, our superhero is Piers Gilliver, aged 21, who competes for Great Britain in wheelchair fencing.
Piers' story starts somewhat earlier than his many World Cup and Grand Prix wins. In fact, it initially started when he was only 10 years of age. Piers was at school like any other boy, when suddenly his health started to rapidly deteriorate. By age 12 he could no longer stand or walk. His condition is known as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder, and he also suffers from another undiagnosed neurological condition.
Piers attended Gloucestershire College, part-time, to study Fine Art where he passed his first two foundation modules but chose to leave the course as he was unable to meet its demands alongside the training demands for his, by then, blossoming career as a wheelchair fencer.
He Joined The British Disabled Fencing Association in December 2010 and was selected for his first international event to represent GBR at the IWASF World Cup in Warsaw, Poland in July 2012 – finishing 11th in the senior Men’s Epee. UK Sport (National Lottery) support the British Disabled Fencing Association’s elite programme and, is one of only two in the programme to receive an Athlete Award thus far.
Piers is currently No1 Disabled Fencer in the World and is a genuine medal contender for the Paralympics 2016, in Rio. Piers secured a Silver Medal at the first World Cup of the season in Hungary (Feb 16) and has just 3 more major events, two World Cups (Canada and Poland) and a European Championships (Italy) before he travels to Brazil in September 2016.
This young man is such an inspiration, and we are looking forward to watching his progress in the months leading to the Paralympic Games in Rio and thereafter in the years leading to Tokyo 2020. As part of our commitment to tell others about Piers and his incredible journey, we want to offer you the opportunity to get behind him as well. You can donate, follow/tweet Piers on twitter, or even just spread the word about him (fee free to share this blog). Any and all of these things will really help him and his family.
We want to give Piers the best possible chance competing around the world. Over the forthcoming weeks we will be setting up a way that you can donate to Piers Gilliver, but if you'd like to do this right away, please email us.
Like we said, superheroes can do all kinds of wonderful things! And some are world class fencers!