Commemorating 100 years of greatness has to be matched by an event that celebrates that greatness through intense sacrifice, social awareness, risk and commitment. Marinus du Plessis, a 55-year old South African is set to jet ski his way into the Guiness Book of Records with a solo 11000km Artic-to-Athens venture in honour of Tata Mandela and Mandela Day to raise both awareness about the immense challenges faced by persons with disabilities and vital funds for their care.
Mr Marinus du Plessis, of Gauteng, intends undertaking the epic 40-day jet ski journey to encourage the public to donate funds to the Gift of the Givers, whilst breaking a world record. This will enhance the organisation’s support for projects dealing with the physically and mentally challenged, including autism. “Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future” (Nelson Mandela).
The Pretoria-based export company owner begins his record-breaking attempt on Saturday 07 July from Rognan, in Norway. He will jet ski through the rough North Sea, traverse the English Channel, the world’s busiest waterway, before skimming across the Mediterranean to Athens, Greece.
Commenting on his record attempt, du Plessis said: “I am a man on a mission. I want to heighten awareness about problems faced by physically challenged and autistic people and the best way I know how is to tackle an endurance challenge on a jet ski. I do this in honour of Mr Nelson Mandela, my autistic brother and in the memory of a great friend, sadly no longer with us.”
This is a mammoth undertaking and one which will call attention to the plight of persons with disabilities through the stimulation of great public interest in the endeavour, with the tracking of his route through social platforms. South Africans will be rooting for a fellow citizen, Marinus, hoping that he breaks the record. We are most grateful to him for his daring fund-raising endeavour on our behalf and encourage South Africans of all walks of life to really get behind his adventure.
Funds raised are to be dedicated by the Gift of the Givers to provide for wheelchairs and to assist Autism South Africa to support affected children.
du Plessis is no stranger to marathon jet ski exploits. In 2003 he and then close friend, Adriaan Marais, completed a 7 000km jet ski trip from Kenya to Cape Town in 57 days. They then began planning their next adventure, a challenging route from Alaska to Panama along the West Coast of the Americas. In 2006, they completed the 17 500km journey in 95 days – a new record.
“A tragic diving accident in 2013 claimed Adriaan’s life, leaving me devastated and I gave no further thought to jet ski adventures until recently. A challenge of this nature is about both physical and mental fitness and undertaking a trip with others sounded too normal, so I opted for a solo record-breaking attempt,” du Plessis said.
du Plessis said the Alaska-Panama trip had opened his eyes to the potential for raising funds for charity. He added: “It was not only the loss of this opportunity, but also guilt associated with the selfishness I felt, which rendered this trip incomplete for me. To enjoy life without limit and not play a role in charitable projects when opportunities arise was a selfish act and one I can now reverse.”
Having had an autistic brother, du Plessis understands the needs and the support shortfalls persons with disabilities face and led to him to committing to use his next adventure to make a telling difference by creating widespread awareness of the funding needs of disabled communities in South Africa through an endurance challenge the public could follow and support.
Said du Plessis of the final planning phase of the trip: “I can’t wait to get going and am greatly looking forward to this crazy challenge; a challenge I am dedicating to my dear friend, Adriaan. He and my brother will be in my thoughts throughout my ride from Norway to Greece.”
Marinus leaves for Norway on 04 July 2018.
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