Posted by martin.parnell |

Once in a while you meet someone who stops you in your tracks. It takes you by surprise and happens at the most unexpected times. Yesterday shortly after arriving at Dublin Heights Elementary and Middle school in Toronto I was asked if I would participate in the Right To Play National Inspirational Speaker Series. Last year at this time I had travelled to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and spoken at 10 schools in five days.

The grade 1 to 8 students from Dublin Heights were assembled in the gym and Nancy from Right To Play gave an overview of the charity and what they do. I then came up and told the students about my bike trip across Africa, running 250 marathons in one year and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 21 hours. I then explained my 10th Quest, visiting 10 Universities to attempt 10 Guinness World Records in 26 days in order to raise $400,000.

At the end of the talk I presented a copy of MARATHON QUEST to Principal Dan and as I was going back to my seat I was stopped by a student in a wheelchair and he said “can I have a book?” I looked down and saw a small boy with the biggest smile ever. I dug out a book, signed it and gave it to him. We started chatting and he said his name was Daniel and he was in grade 8. I asked him about the casts he had on both legs and he told me that he had injured one swimming and the other playing basketball.

We said goodbye and headed outside for the ball hockey world record. All afternoon as students went on and came off the playing area Daniel would wave his short plastic hockey stick and shout encouragement to the players. I asked Daniel’s Mother if he was going to play but she told me he was too fragile. Later in the afternoon the clouds came over and the heavens opened but Daniel didn’t move. He kept right on cheering the players. At the end of the game we went into the school. I meet Daniel and his Mother was drying his hair. It had gone all spiky and he was laughing away.

Sometimes you meet people with a life force that burns like a Roman Candle. Daniel improves the lives of every person he meets. You can’t feel down when you’re around Daniel. He is a very, very special boy and he’s given me the strength to finish the job.

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