Former Gibtelecom employee takes on E-M-POWER challenge

August 05, 2022
Former Gibtelecom employee takes on E-M-POWER challenge Image

Former Gibtelecom employee, Eric Rowbottom, will be embarking on a huge challenge in September, climbing the Med Steps to raise money and awareness for Special Needs Awareness Group (SNAG) and the GBC Open Day Fund. 

A challenging task for all, what might not be known, is that Eric is a full-time wheelchair user and will be climbing the Med Steps unassisted, using only his arms - nothing short of a mammoth task for which he deserves every bit of support he can get.

We caught up with Eric earlier this week to learn more about the challenge and the drive behind it.

“My aim is to change the way people view disabilities in Gibraltar”, he said. “People look at disabled people and already make assumptions such as ‘not being married’ or ‘can’t do this or that’. People automatically create a box in their minds and associate people like me, with all these assumptions. A lot of work needs to be done to remove this stigma that exists among disabled people in Gibraltar, but I’m hoping this is a start.”

Eric contracted Polio when he was only eight years old and has been a wheelchair user ever since . Throughout his life, he has campaigned relentlessly for other disabled people, helping numerous individuals and families overcome adversity in one form or another.

For Eric, the challenge is a physical representation of the obstacles and barriers that disabled people face daily. The ups, the downs, the need for assistance at certain moments in one’s life and the sheer determination that it sometimes takes to fulfil your dreams and reach personal goals.

He said, “I joined SNAG over a year ago. Their goals and my goals were the same, and as soon as we met for the first time, we hit the ground running! We are extremely active in the community and are always giving back.”

Eric’s disability has not stopped him from doing whatever he puts his mind to. Throughout his life, Eric has tried his hand at numerous physical activities like abseiling, parasailing, taking part in marathons and managing football, as well as having a keen interest in music and photography.  

Having worked in various departments in Gibtelecom for 28 years, eventually retiring as Customer Care Manager, we are especially proud of the challenge and journey he has chosen to embark upon.

Eric added, “Personally, I don’t want people to see Eric Rowbottom, a disabled person, doing a monster challenge. Instead, I want to show the public that anything is possible, for everyone!”

So far, Eric has raised £1,935* of his £5000 target with many more donations expected as his challenge nears. The Gibtelecom team wish him all the best and will be behind him every step of the way.  

*Data collected 04/08/2022.

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