Tom Stabbins attended a Climbing Out programme back in 2017. Recently we caught up with Tom and it was fantastic to hear what he has achieved since then.
He has the Climbing Out ‘how can I?’ attitude in spades, and he’s put his skills, warmth, and energy into making a difference to young people’s lives. He is a true advocate for inclusivity.
At just 12 years old Tom was diagnosed with bone cancer. Within a couple of months, he had one of his legs amputated.
Tom had always been active and a lover of the outdoors, but the next couple of years were spent going back and forth to hospital.
Tom got really into wheelchair basketball in his teens but as he was unable to drive it was hard for him to keep it up after leaving home.
When his fitness levels began to decline Tom gave the Bristol Inclusive Climbing Festival a try. It’s an open-door event which gives people with learning or physical disabilities the chance to try out climbing for free.
The festival put Tom on a new path and gave him a new love of climbing. He has been climbing every week since then!
“It doesn’t matter what body type you have, where your head’s at, whether you’re a big buff gym dude or if you’ve never done any exercise before - there’s a place for you on the wall.” Tom
Tom began volunteering for a young disabled charity, where he met James Rudge, who also had a physical disability.
Tom and James were part of the team that set up BITS (Bristol Inclusive Thrill Seekers), along with Jessica Carter. They are a volunteer led charity giving people of all abilities and backgrounds the opportunity to take part in adventure sports.
They set up inclusive events, such as park hall and climbing, which are accessible for all abilities.
Tom and the team use their skills in adventure sports to provide 1-2-1 sessions that support young people in developing their confidence and independence.
Tom hasn’t let his physical limitations hold him back – quite the opposite. He has turned his experiences in to something positive, helping and inspiring many others. He has overcome life’s hurdles to achieve something awesome!
Follow Tom on Instagram @tomstabbinsclimbing
Follow BITS on Instagram @club.bits and on Facebook @club.bits.bristol