Liam Togher is more at home in the swimming pool than on the trail, but this weekend he’s taking on his biggest challenge yet – an 18km trek up Australia’s highest peak.
This endeavour would be a challenge for even the most dedicated of hikers, but is an incredible effort for the 14-year-old who lives with cerebral palsy and is recovering from a major surgery.
“I will try and hike it to the best of my ability, but they do have wheelchairs in case my knee is really hurting,” Liam told news.com.au.
As the first of twins, doctors used forceps on Liam during the birth.
Over the next two years, his parents noticed Liam wasn’t hitting the same milestones as quickly as his twin Quinn.
At age two-and-a-half, Liam was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy on his right side, and it was suspected that his brain was damaged by the use of forceps – an extremely rare occurrence.
Liam was then engaged in early intervention and sports programs at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, which he credits for discovering his love for swimming.
“I love swimming,” Liam told news.com.au after spending the day in the pool for his school’s swimming carnival.
“I just love the feeling of being in the water.
“I actually found my love for swimming with Cerebral Palsy Alliance because we did all of these different camps for different sports when I was little and one of them was swimming,”
Liam has his sights set on becoming a Paralympian swimmer, with plans to head to the Paralympic trials this year.
“Hopefully over these next couple of years I can learn what I need to work on and fine tune my skills to make it to the 2024 Paralympics,” he said.
Before he gets to work on achieving this goal, Liam is helping raise money for the organisation that has helped him thrive.
To take on the Mount Kosciuszko summit this weekend, Liam has even had to delay a surgery he needs on his leg.
Liam had a surgery last May in order to prevent his “good” leg from growing anymore to allow his other leg to catch up, and a screw is now causing him issues.
“We just found out this past week he needs to go into surgery to get that screw out,” Liam’s mum, Jennifer, said.
“We said ‘can you wait a week because we have raised a lot of funds for this hike and we kind of have to do it’.”
Liam will head in for the surgery on Tuesday following the hike.
His whole team will be dressed in full Gryffindor garb for the hike this weekend, and the Harry Potter fan even sold his beloved book collection to fundraise.
Along with other fundraising efforts, his team has raised more than $16,000 to go toward the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s goal.
Liam will join 14 other young people with cerebral palsy to descend on Jindabyne tonight with their team and trek or wheel up to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and back again over the weekend.
The Krazy Kosci Klimb aims to raise $450,000 for Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Accessible Gym and Sports Program. To help Liam raise money head to his fundraising page, or visit the Krazy Kosci Klimb website.