Adventure of a Different Kind
On a wet, misty day in the Blue Mountains, a woman in a wheelchair and a young boy are suspended off the side of a cliff. The woman is Sarah-Jane Staszak, and the boy is her eight-year-old son, Hamish. With them are two photographers, and a host of volunteers organising the rope rigging, lighting systems, cameras.
More than three years ago, the outdoor adventurer and guide awoke from routine back surgery to discover she could not move. Since then quadriplegia has become the normal routine of Staszak’s life. She has combatted the challenges of deep depression, of adjusting to a different life, and the impacts it has on Hamish.
Earlier this year, Melbourne-based photographer Karen Alsop approached Staszak to ask if she would be interested in participating in Alsop’s collaborative enterprise, the heART Project. The project is an initiative between Alsop, producer Adam Cubito, and other photographers, artists and creatives, designed to bring joy and inspiration to families who have suffered hardship.
Staszak said when Alsop asked her to take part, it was an ideal chance for her to create a new adventure with Hamish. “As a mother I really had this great aspiration to be pioneering some of his great expeditions and exciting trips with him,” Staszak said. “When I became very disabled about three and a half years ago that was one of my biggest griefs.”
Read the full story in the current Travel Play Live issue, now on newsstands.
For more details on the heART Project visit www.theheartproject.com.au
To donate to Staszak’s campaign for easy access ramps in the Blue Mountains, visit www.gofundme.com/sarahjanestaszak