Hometown: North Vancouver, B.C
In September of 2007 Karim received a C7 vertebrae fracture and was faced with the possibility of paralysis. Ultimately recovering fully, he nonetheless was left with a full appreciation for those impacted with a spinal cord injury.
Shortly after, Karim met an individual named Matt Thola. Matt and Karim are mirror images of each other: adventurous, confident and infected with what people call the "travel bug." Both are the same age and share a similar sense of humours, as well as physical scars. The only difference between the two is Matt is in a wheelchair.
The two friends' interaction and camaraderie would send them on a journey to find the most adventurous travel itinerary possible, while still catering to Matt's additional needs. However, the adrenaline-filled itinerary they craved hadn't evolved from the catered cruise and bus tours boasting accessibility and safety - thus causing both friends to create an alternative.
Forming their own company called 9Lives Adventures, Matt and Karim embarked on a plan for themselves, and others to visit the tallest, highest, longest and hardest points of the globe with Matt in his wheelchair and Karim joining in one as well.
In one year they successfully explored two continents, written reviews on their 38 tours, received international press coverage, skydived with Australia's first paraplegic skydiver, surfed with a two-time world champion and, most importantly, lived by the limitless example they sought to create and share. One year. One amazing journey.
Living by the mantra that the choices we make along our personal journey are the stepping-stones of our entire life, Matt and Karim are shining examples of what it means to become difference makers in the lives of others. Both know that on their journey there will be hardships and triumphs, advances and setbacks - but the real victory is the journey towards making a difference, accomplishing their goals and raising awareness.
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