People and Places
28/04/2020
It’s ‘this-ability’, not disability for Everest-bound Bobby

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Bobby Bajram is almost 53 and doesn’t stop. He climbs big mountains, runs up and down beaches for hours and collapses in the snow on top of the world. The plan is to climb Mt Everest in 2021 and it won’t be easy – but who said life was meant to be easy? Bobby is legally blind and in pain 24 hours a day. He can also spend up to six months a year in a wheelchair or in bed and often uses sticks to help him balance while getting around. He has multiple sclerosis. 

At just 13, this frequent Mornington Peninsula visitor who’s based in Melbourne was the youngest person to be diagnosed with the debilitating degenerative disease. A regular camper at Sorrento as a kid, Bobby has been spending his holidays for years staying at the Blairgowrie Caravan Park and Kanasta Caravan Park in Rye while he trains. Trains for life. Trains for Everest. He’s also the ambassador for Portsea Life Saving Club and has an incredibly positive mind-set. He explains: “I was born with a positive attitude. It’s just who I am. My parents didn’t understand the disease when I was a teenager and couldn’t marry me off because I was damaged goods. You know, arranged marriage. It was different back then for people with a disability. It was 40 years ago and the family didn’t have the support it needed. I prefer to call my disability a ‘this-ability’. I train at Portsea back beach all throughout winter because the weather there is as bad as it gets. It’s wild when it’s raining and windy. I’m walking up and down the beach in the thick, wet sand and am out on the big boards paddling. Now that’s training. The Portsea lifesavers have been fantastic. I have two of them with me every time I train because my balance is so bad. I have an amazing team of people behind me helping me get to where I need to be – Everest.” 

Bobby has already done three climbs in the Himalayas: Everest Base Camp at 5368m, Mt Kala Patthar at 5550m and Mt Lobuche East at 6119m. All three climbs  were achieved within 22 days and with a badly sprained ankle to boot, but he made his ‘triple’. Now for the big one. He continues: “I am always thinking on a positive wavelength when many others wouldn’t. It’s part of who I am. I asked my medical team if I was going to die doing it and they told me they didn’t know, but I’m not scared of dying. I have no fear. I’m living my life now. I just want to get to the top of the world and look out over it. I’ll have a large team with me helping me get there.  I’m doing it for everyone with a disability out there. Our bodies are like car engines. You’ve got to keep them moving and I’ve got an in-built turbo.”

With the help of his many Mornington Peninsula sponsors, Bobby looks set to conquer his dream. And why not? Anything is possible. 

LIZ ROGERS 

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