Vancouver hiker climbs Grouse Grind using only his arms
It took more than six hours, but with the help of his brother and a friend holding his legs, Leo Sammarelli made it all the way up to the top. (Instagram/@sammarelli)
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver man's ascent up the Grouse Grind is one you may not have seen before.
“As far as I know, no one has done it on their hands, especially as a paraplegic,” said Leo Sammarelli, who this week finished the climb using only his arms.
“It was a tough challenge.”
It took more than six hours, but with the help of his brother and a friend holding his legs, Sammarelli made it all the way up to the top.
He did it to raise money for Vancouver’s Adaptive Boxing program, something he has been heavily involved in since the tragic incident that changed his life.
On March 13, 2017, Sammarelli was the victim of a brazen shooting in North Vancouver.
“I was shot multiple times and it resulted in me being a paraplegic,” he said.
He still struggles to understand how it happened.
"It was misidentification, really,” he said, adding that he may have been associated with or friends with the intended target.
Sammarelli was a national boxing champion, and has spent years rehabilitating since the incident. He now trains others in wheelchairs on how to stay active and healthy, while at the same time campaigning for his sport, adaptive boxing, to be included in the Olympics.
He hopes others can draw inspiration from his story.
“After something life-changing like a spinal cord injury or whatever you face in life, it is possible to overcome that and test those boundaries and challenges that you have everyday,” Sammarelli said.
His GoFundMe page called “The Grind for Adaptive Boxing” has raised more than $5,000 so far.