Luke laps up the challenges of life

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
EPIC individual Luke Whatley swam 100 laps at the Karratha Lesiureplex in celebration of International Day of People with Disability on December 4.
Camera IconEPIC individual Luke Whatley swam 100 laps at the Karratha Lesiureplex in celebration of International Day of People with Disability on December 4. Credit: Shannon Beattie/Pic: Shannon Beattie, Shannon Beattie

Earlier this year he competed in the City to Surf — now one paraplegic local legend has taken to the water and completed a gruelling 5km swim.

Luke Whatley, who has been paraplegic since birth, completed 100 laps of the 50m pool at Karratha Leisureplex last Wednesday in celebration of International Day of People with Disability.

His swim, which took more than eight hours, was supported by Empowering People in Communities, with the local organisation hosting a barbecue and inviting staff and the community to show their support for him during the day.

Mr Whatley said he chose to complete the swim because he wanted to polish the year off in style.

“I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could really push it and now this is my big moment,” Mr Whatley said.

“I have big dreams and goals that I want to reach.

“They’re private, but I want to reach them, so I’m doing every thing I can to get there.”

Ever-humble, Mr Whatley wouldn’t take all the credit for his huge achievement.

“I’d like to thank my mum, my dad, the rest of my family and my support worker for supporting me with this challenge,” he said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank the Karratha Leisureplex because they create champions like myself.

“They’ve been so supportive of me and I’m so happy to be a part of the Leisureplex family.”

EPIC chief executive Stephanie Soter said the organisation was thrilled to support Mr Whatley during his amazing achievement of 100 laps.

“He is an inspiration to everyone and a great advocate for what can be achieved when we believe in ourselves,” she said.

In celebration of International Day of People with Disabilities, EPIC also threw an event at the Roebourne PCYC, with more than 60 children and families in attendance.

The kids enjoyed a variety of games with small adaptions to simulate different disabilities, with vision-impaired dodgeball a crowd favourite.

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