Taking a dive for Johnny

Amanda Lowry getting wheeled into the water. Photo: Nikki South.

‘Johnny Blaze' has never been good at asking for help, but when he lost his leg in September, he did not have to ask.

Johnny Sligo known as Johnny Blaze, after the National Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Tauranga on September 23, experienced tingling then numbness in his foot.

He says there was a blood clot in his groin which escalated so quickly it resulted in two risky eight-hour operations to try to save his leg, however they didn't work and his leg was amputated.

"I only got to play the first day. On the second day I was having my leg cut off,” he says.

When his family and friends found out, his sister Cristalle and friends Angela Wallace and Amanda Lowry took matters into their own hands by organising a Givealittle campaign and ocean swim fundraiser to get him a prosthetic.

The aim was to raise between $20,000 and $150,000 for the prosthetic.

“Because it is an above knee amputation he is going to need dynamic adaptable knee technology that is fit for a range of situations,” says Amanda.

She says they are also fundraising for his changing needs, such as equipment and home support, so he can keep up his amazing contribution to the disabled sporting community as an athlete, coach, student and board member for Parafed Bay of Plenty.

Today Amanda Lowry, who became a tetraplegic in a surfing accident four years ago, swam the longest ocean swim of her life for their fundraising campaign.

Amanda, accompanied by around 20 other experienced ocean swimmers, swam from Mount Maunganui Beach to Rabbit Island and back.

“It's amazing to have Johnny bring the high performance element into disability sport through his studies, he is so generous with his knowledge,” says Amanda.

“He's lifting the profile and skill level of disabled sport, and that makes him a legend in my eyes”

She says because of this she felt like the fundraiser was so important, not only to make life easier on him, but also to show that great things can come out of a negative situation.

So far on the Givealittle page $9295 has been donated by 110 generous donors. All money raised will be going into the John Sligo Benefit Trust Fund.



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Christmas lilies. Photo: Graham Woodhead.

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