Brant Garvey’s dream is to get to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games, and he’s looking for sponsors to help him get there. Image – Julia Wheeler.
By Kate Dzienis
If there’s a man on the planet who dares to dream big, and is just inches away from his biggest sights, its Perth’s very own Brant Garvey from Trigg (WA).
In 2013, the now 31-year-old was Australia’s first above knee amputee to participate in and complete an Ironman triathlon, successfully crossing the finish line after doing a 3.8kms swim, 180kms cycle and 42.2kms run.
Garvey trains hard; he’s committed, he’s athletic, he’s what many would consider ‘superhuman’ because what he’s accomplished since the day he was born is nothing short of extraordinary, as he came into this world a congenital above knee amputee.
He uses a custom-made specialised running prosthesis, which gives him the ability to propel forward just like any other runner, but Garvey told Runglobal that sadly, it has fallen apart and requires immediate attention.
“It needs $8,000 worth of work done to it,” he explained.
“The idea was to have spare legs going into Rio but that’s not a possibility any more because they’re just too expensive.
“There are two major components that need to be looked at – one is the knee and the other is the foot. Being an above knee amputee, the knee is crucial because I don’t have control of the lower half of my limb so the knee has to be designed to vary its speed to make sure it’s in the right spot by the time I have to land on it.
“There is only one company in the world that makes the knee to that quality, and that’s a $6,000 piece of equipment.
“I blew mine up within the first two years, and just recently have had it fixed.
“Then I have the carbon fibre blade, the blade foot, but now that needs replacing.”
Garvey is facing an incredible hurdle in the lead up to his dream of reaching the Rio Games, because with the economic climate sitting on a downturn, he’s finding himself in a bit of a pickle with lack of sponsorships.
Despite having HBF Health behind him, and service donations assisting him – including Star Physio WA for physiotherapy, a bike from Giant Bicycles Australia, and assistance from Total Marine Technology – Garvey is still struggling to come up with the funding that will see him through.
“I’m trying to raise at least $50,000, that’s my target,” he said.
“That’s the bare minimum for legs and expenses; anything under that is really taking away from time I can spend at two training camps in the lead up to the Paralympics.”
Brant Garvey trains along the coast of WA and remains hopeful he will make it to the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Image – Julia Wheeler.
Garvey is adamant he will get there – he runs five times a week, which is more than enough to prepare for the Games triathlon distances of a 750m swim, 20kms cycle and 5kms run.
He does two runs a week at 5kms each, then a long run averaging between 6kms and 8kms once a week, and because of his height (171cms), Garvey rides on a female TT bike that was resprayed from its original hot pink colour.
Swim training is done on a rotational basis, between pool and the ocean.
Garvey’s dedication and positive attitude is what keeps him going, and along with the support of his wife Natalie, he is thankful for everything the public has done for him so far in raising money towards Rio – but there is still a long way to go.
“The support from West Australians has been absolutely amazing, and they’ve helped raise $6,000 since I launched my crowdfunding campaign on March 14,” he proudly said.
“It’s such a testament to how many local Aussies are behind me, and it’s a beautiful thing when parents come up and tell me how I’ve motivated or inspired their child with the attitude that, ‘it might not be the easiest thing to do, but you can do it’.”
You can help Garvey’s dream come true by donating to his campaign, which can be found here.