Quadriplegic woman set to sail solo around UK using just her breath

June 17th, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 17 (ANI): Hilary Lister, a quadriplegic woman and first quadriplegic to sail across the English Channel, now is embarking on a record-breaking journey to sail alone around the British Isles in a boat controlled only by her breath.

Lister, 36, who is only able to move her head, eyes and mouth, started her solo sailing in her boat from Dover on the southeast coast of England, steering her specially adapted yacht by blowing and sucking on straws to adjust the sails and tiller.

As she set off Monday, Lister said she was feeling confident. Weve broken everything that can be broken and everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong, so weve got to be OK now, she told reporters.

The whole journey is expected to take around three months, with an inflatable boat sailing alongside her and a crew providing support on land.

Lister suffers from a rare disorder known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, an agonising muscle-wasting condition, which has left her with no movement below the neck, The Telegraph reported.

At home in Canterbury, Kent, she can only do the simplest of tasks by using her forehead to push levers on a machine, which changes the channel on the television or answers the telephone.

Her previous record-breaking achievements will pale in comparison to the latest challenge, which will see her encounter some of the trickiest sailing conditions in the world.

Thanks to high-tech adaptations to her Artemis 20 boat, she became the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel and the first female quadriplegic to solo circumnavigate the Isle of Wight.

Her journey will raise money for her charity, Hilary’s Dream Trust, which aims to help other people with disabilities achieve their dreams of sailing. (ANI)

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