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Disabled teenager conquers North Pole: Disability News and Information Service

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Disabled teenager conquers North Pole

DNIS News Network -- A 15-year-old disabled Polish boy has become the youngest teenager to walk unaided to the North Pole on April 21.

Accompanied by a veteran polar explorer, Jan Mela walked to the North Pole without any help. Expedition leader and fellow Pole Marek Kaminski, was the first man to reach both poles in one year on foot and unsupported.

Jan Mela, who was fitted with artificial limbs after losing an arm and leg in an electrical accident in 2002, was determined to overcome his disability. "If I can do it, other people can do great things, too," he said before setting out on the expedition.

In fact, Mela has achieved more than any so-called able-bodied boy of his age as, in addition to being the first handicapped person to walk to the North Pole, he is also the youngest person to make the journey unaided.

The unusual expedition began to take shape after the teenager met Kaminski and expressed a desire to see the North Pole. Kaminski, who has links with several charities, agreed to accompany Mela on his quest. It took the pair 21 days, including three of bad weather conditions, to reach the North Pole.

"I didn't think we could make it," Mela said, "but then things got better."