About Jasiek Mela
In our lifetime we all have different horizons in front of us – horizons of imagination, horizons of possibility. We are surrounded by barriers, but in reality most of them exist only in our minds. When we perceive something as impossible, we put up a barrier within ourselves which we will not proceed through. We would like to shift ourselves and others beyond horizons, showing that there is no such thing as “impossible”. It is not easy when you are on your own. Sometimes we cannot see the way when we are alone, but together we are stronger.
I have got a second chance in life. I have met a lot of remarkable people such as Marek Kamiński and Anna Dymna, who have changed my life for the better and given me hope. My dream is to carry that hope further, to give it to those who did not have as much good luck as I did. I am who I am thanks to others. Thanks to all those wonderful people around me, I keep trying not to give up and appreciate life. Sometimes it is hard but thanks to all of you it is much easier for me. Thanks to the Foundation I feel I can personally experience the broadening possibilities of my world. It is such a phenomenal feeling.
The Foundation’s logo evokes associations with the Little Prince character from a novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Falling in love with a rose requires a huge amount of sensitivity. Similarly, you need to look hard to notice those many Little Princes among us. But they are there. They are the unsung heroes of everyday life who struggle with difficulties in their daily life. Together it is always easier. Together pretty things are even more pretty, and those difficult ones are easier. Unique places on Earth can be perceived as beautiful but there is nothing more beautiful than to see a reflection of nature’s wonders in the eyes of a beloved person. We make an effort to find those heroes and to help them as much as we can. Even with a smile. A smile is a little treasure, which does not cost us anything but is priceless. Let’s not fear to share a smile! Let’s make the world a happier place, despite all its troubles. Let’s find the paints with which we can colour our lives. My dream is to be such a painter for someone.
My whole life brings me here and there… I was born in Gdańsk, but the first few years of my life I spent in Gdynia. Then we moved to Malbork, where I went to primary school, and after my Leaving Certificate graduation I left to study in Łódź. For a year I studied film direction there, but I was not happy so I changed subject and decided on psychology in Sopot. Again at the sea… But once again, after a year of studies I dropped out and moved to Kraków. Sometimes it is better to try something only to learn that it is not what you really like, than regret that you have never tried it at all. There are no wasted moments in life. A man learns throughout his whole life. It is funny, but I have already learnt more from running the Foundation for over a year than during my academic education. But it does not mean that I irretrievably dismiss the possibility of getting a higher education; on the contrary, I will keep trying to complete it, but this time, I hope, more consciously.
I love journeys. Travelling is learning about life. By travelling we learn humility. Facing a gigantic wall of glacier and knowing that any second a block of ice can fall apart and crush me, I feel that life is like a little flame which can be easily blown out. Then I appreciate the fact that life is a miracle. And people are the most important in this life. When I meet people who say that something is impossible, unfeasible, I try to prove them wrong because body limitations can be overcome; it is not a pair of legs but our minds that bring us to the target. We have that power within us. And “impossible” is a word that paralyzes us and it would be better to forget quickly.
Every trip is a journey deep inside ourselves where we test our strength and resilience. When we climb in the mountains we truly get to know each other. That is why I love mountain climbing. I love to take pictures. I cannot paint but I keep trying. And photography is not only about recording: it is also about creating something that does not exist. Because it is the lighting that makes a photograph and by playing with light and shadow we create something new. For me, a camera is like a brush of light. I love to try new things. I have a sewing machine, the decent Łucznik 877, with which I am trying to make rag dolls. All you need is just some willingness and imagination. I love antiques and Kraków is an oasis for antique “freaks”. I have my own small collection of vintage film projectors with my favorite French hand crank one from 1924. My dream is to someday open a small cinema where I would show old films from the beginning of the age of cinematography using my old noisy and doddering film projectors. I have several old cameras, equipment for developing pictures and a whole bunch of mysterious chemical reagents. I would like to make movies using my old cameras and then develop the films myself. Such small things bring plenty of joy to your life. It is worth enjoying small things, because details are the essence of integrity. Life is built from everyday moments, which is good to fill with our passions and share the results of it with others.
In 2002, at the age of 13, Jasiek Mela had a serious accident. He escaped a heavy storm into the dangerous building of an electric transformer station – and received an electric shock of 16 000 V voltage. As a result of the electric shock the doctors decided to amputate his left shin and right forearm. Currently Jasiek walks on a prosthetic leg. He has been through a complicated medical treatment but thanks to his family and many wonderful people he has won back his self esteem and purpose in life. In 2004 with Marek Kamiński he reached both the North Pole and later the South Pole. Thereby he became the youngest and the only disabled person in the world who accomplished it. In October 2008 with a group of people under the care of Anna Dymna Foundation “Mimo Wszystko”( “ Despite all “) he climbed “The roof of Africa “, Mount Kilimanjaro. In the very same year he made a decision to found his own foundation, which would help disabled people, in particular those affected by accidents. On the 29th of December 2008 the Jasiek Mela Foundation “Poza Horozyonty” (“Beyond Horizons”) was founded. At the end of July and the begining of August 2009 Jasiek Mela reached Elbrus – the highest top of the Caucasus Mountains.
About the Foundation
Jasiek Mela Foundation Poza Horyzonty (“Beyond Horizons”) was founded in December 2008, the day before the birthday of the founder. From its inception, the foundation has been trying to provide a wide range of help to victims of accidents, who are waiting for artificial limbs and are in need of a psychological and/or legal support. The role of the Foundation is also to help disabled persons to integrate with the rest of society. To this day, the Foundation has managed to execute three big projects: an expedition of a group of seven to Mount Elbrus (5642m AMSL); participation of Jasiek Mela’s Team in the biggest and the most prestigious marathon, ING New York City Marathon; and a climbing expedition to El Capitan in California. All the projects ended with success – we climbed Elbrus (Łukasz Żelechowski is the first blind person on the Roof of Europe!), all our runners finished the marathon, and the El Capitan Expedition hero – Andrzej Szczęsny – climbed with Jasiek a 450m high rocky way to magical top in Yosemite!
“Beyond Horizons” Foundation was founded to help victims of accidents who are often left on their own. We raise money for prosthetic devices, which give others a chance to live a normal life. However, an artificial limb does not give a new meaning to one’s life, it is only a tool. There are people whose artificial limbs lie at the foot of the bed, and they do not want to get up as they do not see their purpose of life.
That is why we want to step forward – we would like to share our passions and dreams. We challenge ourselves and others, because life is a way, and goals make it meaningful. Let’s remember that is not the number of arms or legs we have that makes us strong but what we have in our minds and hearts. We organize big and small expeditions. But truly the importance of expedition does not arise from whether we are going to the end of the world or to a nearby hill? For one person a high mountain top can be just a new addition to collection but for someone else an escapade to the Beskidy Mountains in Poland can be the adventure of a lifetime. We are not determined to do only spectacular things, but things that are really important. By fulfilling our own passions, we could help others and make someone dreams come true. As Pope John Paul II said: “The true value of a man is not measured by what he possesses, but measured by what he can share with others”. Besides, the more you give away the more you get back.