Earlier this week I was in Cardiff sharing the Natural Juice Junkie message at an event for employees of energy and utilities supplier SSE. I rarely post about the corporate juicing and wellness work I do, but this event was a little different.

See, I was at SSE as part of SSE’s Next Generation programme, a four-year partnership with Sports Aid that gives vital support to 50 amazing young athletes across Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The event was for SSE employees to learn about the programme and the way SSE is helping athletes aged from 13 to 25, who have been identified as potential Commonwealth Games and Olympic medallists of the future.

Olympic medalist Leon Taylor with the next gen athletes

On the left: Olympian Leon Taylor, SportsAid’s chief executive Tim Lawler and the Next Generation Athletes. On the right: Olympian Leon Taylor drinking The Red One

As part of the event, three of the next generation athletes – Dan Butler, Harri Jenkins and Rhys Britton – shared their stories and I was massively inspired by their commitment and determination.

One story in particular REALLY got my attention.

Imagine growing up with a love of BMX. Your dream has always been to ride bikes and at the age of 13 you are a semi-pro BMX rider.

Then you have an accident. An accident that results in you being told you may never walk again, let alone ride a bike.

That is what happened to Dan Butler. Following his accident he got an infection that by the time it was discovered has eaten through one of his hips. This ended with his hip joint being removed.

Dan spend 3 years in hospital before learning to walk again, and guess what he did next?

“I just wanted to ride again so badly that I put everything I had into it. I will never give up on a dream I’ve had since I was tiny of someday riding as a job, which is what I’ve always wanted to do!”

Dan Butler

It was six years before the talented young rider was able to get back on a road bike in May 2013. Since then he has raced competitively in disabled and non-disabled races, going on to represent Wales and the GB Paralympic Development squad.

At the start of 2015, Dan made the decision to leave competitive road racing and return to BMX and downhill racing.

Dan’s story is impressive, and like the stories of all 3 of the young athletes I was honoured to meet, shows what determination and commitment can achieve.

Dan, who says “I have one leg shorter than the other, no right hip, and a leg that only works at 45 per cent, but that doesn’t stop me,” plans to become a future Paralympic champion. Having seen his determination I have no doubt he can achieve his dream.

Check out this video to see Dan in action.


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