Paralympic gold medalist James Crisp visited Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln on August 4 as part of British Polio Month, to talk to aspiring athletes and raise awareness of the condition.
The 32-year-old Paralympic swimmer was joined by members of the Lincolnshire branch of the British Polio Fellowship, of which he is an ambassador, until 3.30pm.
James signed autographs and talked about his swimming career and battle with Polio, a disease which causes muscle weakness and inability to move.
With over 50 major international wins, three gold medals in the Sydney Paralympics and silver medals at 2012’s London Paralympics, James works closely with the British Polio Fellowship, a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS.)
He said: “I got in touch with the association in 2012 just after the Paralympics in London. I really wanted to help them out and raise awareness for Polio survivors. As with many charities they need the funding and they need the donations.
“I contracted polio from a vaccination when I was three or four months old and I have lived with it all my life. I was young with it and still grew up climbing trees and that kind of thing, I have just tried to get on with y life as if I haven’t got it.
“Dady to day my mobility when walking around on land can be a bit of a struggle. The way I am and the will power I have, I have tried not to let it affect me too much.
“When I was diagnosed, the physios told my dad to get me swimming, it would be a good exercise to strengthen my leg and it all started from there really. I joined a club when I was four or five years old and then got into competitive swimming and moved through the ranks.
“I’ve just come back from the world championships in Glasgow and I came back with a silver medal there. It’s now onto the big one, Rio, next year.
“My advice to anyone who has a disability that wants to get into sport would be that the only thing that can hold you back is your own mind and just enjoy what you love doing and live life to the full.”