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Jun 1, 2016

Book on the Adventures of Rowan Garel Released

Over the years, we have covered the adventures of young Rowan Garel, an amazing and extraordinary young man who has been blind since birth. His approach has not only been about testing his limits, but to raise funds for others affected by blindness. His bucket list includes a climb of Victoria Peak and a dive in the Blue Hole as well as Walk Across Belize; all achieved with the sterling support of his family. Today he took center stage again at the release of a book documenting his many feats. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The protagonist in his very own children’s story book, thrill-seeker Rowan Garel’s summertime adventures to raise funds for the visually impaired have been covered extensively in the media.  Those exciting experiences climbing Victoria Peak, walking across Belize and diving the Blue Hole have all been documented by a team of young writers, as well as an illustrator, and are now being presented as Climb, Walk, Dive.

 

Rowan Garel

Rowan Garel, Visually Impaired Adventurer

“I hope that if there is one thing that you take away from this book, it’s not that I am an amazing person or I am this idol or this role model that you should have because I’m not doing this for, as they would say, gold or glory.  I’m doing this to let all of you know that we could all make a difference in anything that we put our minds to.”

 

Long since admired for humility and courage in the face of obstacles, Rowan’s story has been an inspiration for many, including Katie Usher.  She co-authored the paperback along with Gia Martinez after meeting with Rowan in July of last year.

 

Katie Usher

Katie Usher, Writer

“We talked about his story and we talked about not just the grandness of raising money but having hope and not allowing obstacles to be obstacles but taking obstacles and turning them into challenges. …I was really, really happy to be a part of his story, to find out more based on his interviews and I did some research on the media articles about his great accomplishments.  I wrote a little sketch and I could not have done that without Gia Martinez because she has a gift of working the child’s voice.”

 

That knack has been translated into an easy read for children of all ages.

 

Ronford Flowers

Ronford Flowers, Student, St. Mary’s Primary School

“How will an eleven-year-old boy save a summer camp.  He decided to go on a big adventure.  He and his dad would climb the tallest mountain in Belize, Victoria Peak.  So Rowan and his dad Joe began training by walking for miles and miles every day.  Later, they went to Martz Farm to walk up hills until they felt ready to start the massive climb.”

 

Catherine Isabel

Catherine Isabel, Student, St. Mary’s Primary School

“Rowan and his family told people everywhere about their new plan on how to raise awareness about blind children.  He will walk across Belize to raise funds for the annual summer camp.  The walk began early one morning from the town of Benque Viejo, close to the border between Belize and Guatemalan.  This time Rowan had many more friends with him.”

 

Sharmaine Zuniga

Sharmaine Zuniga, Student, St. Mary’s Primary School

“What does someone do after they climb the tallest mountain in Belize and walk across the country?  If you’re an adventurer like Rowan, you dive the Blue Hole.  Rowan is very creative.  Normally, divers use hand signals to communicate.  So Rowan’s instructor adapted signs to communicate by touch.  They also used devices so that they could hear each other underwater.”

 

Born out of an idea from Yasser Musa, the inspiration for the book is Rowan’s larger-than-life personality, despite his visual impairment.

 

Yasser Musa

Yasser Musa, Image Factory Art Foundation

“Climb, Walk, Dive: The Adventures of Rowan Garel is a collaborative children’s book.  It is a story about family, tenacity and hope.  His three adventures carried out to raise funds for others is the definition of charity, community and conscience.  Over a year ago, I sat listening to Rowan Garel speak passionately about the late Sister Elsa, BCVI’s long serving president.  He spoke about her spirit, her engagement with the world and the love she shared.  What struck me most about Rowan’s speech was the clarity of his communication, profound thoughts delivered with ease and charm.  I declared then, and I do so again today, Rowan, you are my hero.  Your action speaks and sparks an intense feeling of humanity and endurance.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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