This story begins in December 1998. Greg has been in the SA Navy since leaving school. He served on the Daphne Class submarines and was a Navy Diver and in December 1998 completed a Bridge watching course.
Known as the ‘Bullet’ amongst his class mates (he was a lot older than most of them) and having passed the course with top results, he was up for a big celebration, and by 8.30 pm Thursday, 10 December, he had had enough and wanted to head home to his wife and daughter.
A life-changing mistake. Greg was over the limit and exhausted and 1 kilometre from home, he fell asleep behind the wheel of his bakkie and it veered across the road and crashed into two large blue gum trees.
Two days later in ICU at 2 Military Hospital, the doctors informed him that he would never walk again and that he was now a C5/C6 quadriplegic and paralysed from his chest down with limited use of his arms and hands.
Says Faure “What news! Not only would I never walk again, I would not drive again, surf again, run along my beautiful Kommetjie beach with my faithful old Labrador, Ybor, again, and neither would I dive for crayfish again, build a braai for my family again, and again, and again. ”
Eight months of rehabilitation lay before him. Adjusting to his new way of life was what he had to do and he had to do it well – he had an 8 year old daughter and he wanted his marriage to survive this tragedy.
My parents were and still are a great support to him. His mother has the amazing ability to always see the bright side of life, and his dad was going to help his boy no matter what. The hospital staff were incredible and encouraged Greg to remain positive and motivated.
Once he was home, it became clear that his marriage was not going to survive. It was a painful time, but now years later, Greg is happily married to an old girlfriend from many years ago, his daughter is a 21 year old young woman making her way in the world, and Greg is still employed in the Navy and has just completed his 2nd Midmar Mile.
The challenge to do the Midmar Mile came from Greg’s old school friend, Grant Steytler. They were at Potch Boys’ High together. Once he had the go-ahead from his Doctor, Greg was determined to meet the challenge. He has always loved the water so to be back in it, feel neutrally buoyant and move independently was an amazing feeling.
Many have assisted with his training, He was in a Virgin Active commercial and they gave him membership to their Steenberg branch. They have a hoist in and out of the pool and the staff members are very helpful.
Greg’s first Midmar Mile in 2011, was supported by Grant Steytler, Greg Youens (both old Potch friends) and his brother David who flew out from London for 48 hours to swim with him (it was a fantastic surprise).
This year Greg was supported by Grant and Greg once more and his friend Brenton Bubb from Cape Town who also documented the weekend on film and photographs.
Greg’s first Midmar Mile in 2011 was a finishing time was 1hr16m. His 2012 finishing time was 1hr5m. Rumour has it that 2012 swim was 200 metres longer as the dam was to maximum capacity and 100% full.
Greg says, “Both Midmar Miles have been incredibly emotional experiences with the whole Midmar Mile vibe, the love and support that one feels and the sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. ”
This year Greg and his wife, Penny, were blessed with some amazing donations. One being the sponsorship of First Car Rental’s branded van for his use over the Midmar Mile weekend.
Says Greg, “The trip cab be expensive with airfares to and from Cape Town, accommodation and transport. We were thrilled to have such a generous sponsorship. First Car Rental was wonderful in adapting the vehicle to accommodate my wheelchair. The staff at First Car Rental King Shaka Airport could not do enough to assist us and were warm and friendly. Our trip to KZN was a happy and stress free event. Thank you to all involved in this amazing and generous donation. ”
He comments, “I am looking forward to my 3rd Midmar Mile Challenge in 2013. “