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Martyn Sibley: European Tour with Disability

  • Published: 2012-09-13 (Rev. 2014-03-15) - Contact: Martyn Sibley
  • Synopsis: Martyn Sibley born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy is beginning a journey across Europe in a specially adapted car.

Definition: Spinal Muscular Atrophy

A group of inherited diseases that cause muscle damage and weakness. It is the second leading cause of neuromuscular disease, after Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The most severe form is SMA type I, also called Werdnig-Hoffman disease. Infants with SMA type II have less severe symptoms during early infancy, but they become weaker with time. SMA type III is the least severe form of the disease.

Main Document

"This latest venture will take him to ten European countries, including his grand-father's birthplace Lithuania and help him assess how different countries respond to disability."

Cambridgeshire Disability Champion Plans European Tour - Martyn Sibley is 29 and was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic condition that causes muscle weakness.

Despite being reliant on an electric wheelchair and 24/7 care, Sibley works with other disabled people to maximize their potential. Using the internet and his own experiences, he shows just what is possible through positive thoughts and actions.

He has traveled widely and taken part in many adventurous activities.

On September 22nd 2012 he begins his toughest challenge yet, beginning a journey across Europe in a specially adapted car.

This latest venture will take him to ten European countries, including his grand-father's birthplace Lithuania and help him assess how different countries respond to disability.

The project costs were sourced through a crowd funding initiative. Sibley will share his experiences throughout Europe with his 20,000 strong online community through articles in his magazine Disability Horizons and on Twitter.

The articles will:

  • Showcase individual achievement in tough situations
  • Illustrate the rough and the smooth of being disabled
  • Highlight different approaches to disability across Europe
  • Help to raise awareness on disability issues and social inclusion
Martyn Sibley
Sibley sums up his aims for the trip as; "I'm just an individual sharing a personal challenge and experience."

My hope is that the trip can be a catalyst for change.

Many disabled people can already see what is possible, society will gain more insight into disability and it will be a lot of fun.

The awareness and money raised will provide a platform for others to progress this social cause".

To make this project a success the following is needed:

  • Finances for fuel, the ferry journey and other route costs
  • Media and PR support
  • Introductions to people and organizations in the visited countries

Additional info: Martyn Sibley is a blogger, social entrepreneur and disability advocate. Since starting his blog ( in July 2009 he has built up a large online presence with disabled people using social media. He left his job as a fundraiser at the disability charity Scope and has since launched online magazine and hosted disability webinars, disability conferences and disability courses. Alongside this he has partnered with charities, councils and companies in the disability field around technology strategies. With a mantra of 'inspire, inform and change'; Martyn shares his journey, his passion and his vision.

Contact Details:

Twitter - @martynsibley
Website -
Online magazine -

For more information on spinal muscular atrophy visit


  1. Disability Diamond Theory - Martyn Sibley - Disability Diamond Theory by Martyn Sibley is a disability model that focuses on an individuals impairment, needs, aspirations and life choices.
  2. Spinal Muscular Atrophy Types 0 and 1 - Spinal muscular atrophy types belong to hereditary diseases that cause weakness and wasting of voluntary muscles in arms and legs of children.


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