On 5 Feb 2022, Northern Beaches’ local Nicholas Lapsley will be undertaking an aquatic challenge to raise money and awareness for Cerebral Palsy. Manly Observer caught up with the intrepid lad during his training at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) headquarters in Allambie Heights.
While Nicholas is breezing through a series of lifting and bending exercises, overseen by CPA personal trainer Will Rogers, I’m feeling exhausted watching him. And yet all I’m doing is buzzing around him with a camera, like an annoying housefly.
The 20-year-old is a long-term member of the Allambie Seals swim squad, a swimming club based in Allambie Heights and run by the CPA. He has won multiple medals in their multi-class championship aquatic events.
Nicholas, who usually joins the CPA’s annual ‘Steptember’ athletic fundraising event in September, has this year, for his 21st birthday, set himself a new challenge.
“For the last four years, I have participated in Steptember,” Nicholas confirmed, “which is a worldwide fundraiser for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, where participants aim for 10,000 steps a day for four weeks. However, this year I am planning on doing something different. I will be swimming in the 20 km with 20 Mates Fundraiser.”
Nicholas revealed that the fundraising event will involve 20 people with varying physical limitations to swim 20km together and aim to raise $20k in sponsorship for the CPA.
“Each swimmer has cerebral palsy and will be swimming one kilometre each. The event will be held at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation on Wakehurst Parkway in Narrabeen… Participants will be coming from all over Sydney, including one person from Canberra.”
Nicholas explained his motivation for organising the charity event: “I was born with the disability cerebral palsy. Since my diagnosis, at eighteen months of age, I have been privileged to receive incredible support and life guidance from CPA resources and staff, who have allowed me to challenge myself in all aspects of life… things that other people my age often take for granted.
“This incredible organisation has supported me in many ways including occupational therapy, speech therapy, gym sessions, mentoring, swimming, and youth camps.”
Cerebral palsy, for the unfamiliar, is a physical disability that affects movement and posture. According to the CPA: “In Australia there are approximately 34,000 people with cerebral palsy. Worldwide, the incidence of cerebral palsy is one in 700 births. There are currently 17 million people in the world who have cerebral palsy.
“For most people, the cause is unknown. There is no known cure..”
CPA, the leading provider of early childhood intervention, provide a multi-discipline therapy service, including physiotherapy, speech pathology and the provision of assistive technology and equipment.
The CPA is a not-for-profit organisation and reliant on donations.
To sponsor Nicholas Lapsley or find out more, visit:
20km with 20 mates