Marshall Marsh is unstoppable! A few days ago specific adaptations were fitted to his car, made possible by Nicky’s Drive, a registered non-profit organisation that aims to assist people with disabilities within South Africa to be mobile and independent through the funding of car adaptations.
From his home in Uitenhage, which he shares with his grandmother, wife and two young children, Marshall says, “I am beyond excited at the prospect of becoming more mobile and independent.” The adaptations were undertaken by Ronnie’s Automobility in Port Elizabeth.
At 28 years of age, Marshall is confident about the future that he has mapped out for himself and his family. Marshall is an above-the-knee double amputee which resulted from a fire when he was only 2 months. His mother sadly died from injuries sustained in the blaze.
Marshall realized from an early age that he would need to work hard to achieve his goals. He says, “Being disabled is complex, and early on I decided to take my studies seriously.” Honouring this commitment, Marshall matriculated with distinction in 2008 and was awarded a full academic bursary from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). In 2015, he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Movement Science and shortly thereafter completed a 12-month internship at the Eastern Cape Academy of Sport (ECAS), which is based at NMMU. Marshall is currently at ECAS as an Administrator and Head of Database/Media.
Marshall is also a keen sportsman and is currently ranked 3rd for South Africa in wheelchair tennis. He has won a number of wheelchair tennis tournaments and while representing South Africa, has travelled to countries such as the Netherlands, England, Russia, Korea and Sri Lanka.
Marshall was determined to not only get a head start in his career, but he was adamant that he needed to become mobile in order to limit his dependence on others when getting out and about. He recounts the difficulties of using public transport. “The daily challenges associated with public transport take up so much time and effort that detract from the things that matter most. I’ve had instances where taxis have refused to pick me up because I have a wheelchair that takes up additional space. When using the train I have to rely on bystanders to help me get in and out of the train.”
Marshall wasted no time in getting his driver’s licence; even before getting a car was remotely possible. He is proud of the fact that he was one of the first persons with disability to get his licence the first time around! Now that he has established himself, Marshall has been able to finance the purchase of car. Adaptations to enable him to drive would require additional financial outlay. Marshall says, “I heard about Nicky’s Drive via social media and immediately applied for funding for the necessary hand controls.”
As well as meeting the basic funding requirements, Marshall’s dedication and enthusiasm impressed Nicky’s Drive, and funding was duly awarded with adaptations undertaken by Ronnie’s Automobility in Port Elizabeth.
Marshall is ecstatic. “The ability to drive means the world to me. Not only will I be able to get to work by myself but I’ll also be able to drive my children to school each day and take the family on outings together. I will also be able to get to the wheelchair tennis coaching that I do at NMMU.”
Marshall’s goals don’t end there. He plans on one day opening a Sports Academy with a focus on the training of both high-performance and beginner athletes involved in a variety of sports. Marshall says, “My current place of work provides me with a great opportunity to learn about the running of a sports academy. In addition to this, I plan on completing an honours degree in Biokinetics.”
Marshall is very grateful and would like to thank Nicky’s Drive for making his driving ambition dreams come true. In fact, another goal is to meet Nicky one day and become an Ambassador for Nicky’s Drive!
Although he has come so far already, it seems like Marshall’s journey is only just beginning. Nicky’s Drive is delighted to have been able to help him along the way.