Who can or can’t Firewalk?

by | Apr 15, 2018

It might surprise you to know that we are often asked by organisers about who can and who can’t Firewalk. In a lot of the times this will be age related, as in, what is the youngest age someone must be to Firewalk. You can read about that here.

Other times, the organiser will be considering the health or physical ability of a potential participant when they are asking about who can or can’t Firewalk. In this post we will have a look at what is possible.

Some examples of who can or can’t Firewalk

Over the years we have had thousands of people taking part in our Firewalks. In that time, we have worked with visually impaired people, hearing impaired people, amputees, people with Parkinson’s disease and people with a variety of mobility issues.

It is always an honour to work with the people that attend our Firewalks. At each event we are blown away and humbled by those present. When they share their stories, their fears, and their difficulties, it is a good reminder that we all face challenges. And then, when they walk on fire, we get to share their joy, their bravery, and the pure positive energy.

As you can imagine, this goes up a few notches when someone takes part in a Firewalk while overcoming health or physical complications.

“People presume my disability has to do with being an amputee, but that’s not the case; our insecurities are our disabilities, and I struggle with those as does everyone.”
Aimee Mullins

Firewalking with a Hearing Impaired Group

Several years ago, we were asked to lead a Firewalk with a group of hearing impaired Young People. I already had some experience of working with hearing impaired people when I took them cliff jumping into the sea. I also had some experience with hearing impaired individuals attending Firewalks.

On this occasion most people present were hearing impaired apart from the support staff. They had interpreters who would sign as I spoke, and I was super focused on speaking clearly and slowly for those who could lip read.

As for the Firewalk, well we had people to walk on the side of the Fire Bed as the participants walked across the Fire. This was to offer support for those with balance problems which can be associated with hearing impairment.

That was one fantastic night and one I will never forget. The young people and their support staff were all amazing.

Firewalking with Visually Impaired People

On a few occasions we have worked with sight impaired and severely sight impaired people. Like working with hearing impaired people, we have staff in place that can walk with the person as they go across the Fire Bed. Of course, when working with severe sight impaired and sight impaired people it means we need to be more hands on. As in, we need to be in physical contact with the person as they go across the fire.

Last year we had one lady who went across with her assistant dog. Of course, the dog walked just off the fire bed. It was amazing to be part of this too.

Firewalking with Amputees

Last year we did a Firewalk for a group of 100 people on an open water training camp. One of the guys wore a prosthetic leg and he really wanted to take part. Happy days! Of course, he was concerned about damaging the prosthetic leg. So, he did the Firewalk with one foot on and one foot off – the prosthetic leg of course was the one off the Fire Bed. And he walked a few times!

There’s another story too. Our friend Cobus Visser from Firewalking Africa did a Firewalk with a guy who had both legs amputated. He was a wheelchair user and he ended up Firewalking on his hands! How incredible is that! Check out the photos and video below which Cobus has kindly allowed us to use.

Cobus has also helped someone with Cerebral Palsy Firewalk, and this is the man who has to deal with his own Haemophilia on a daily basis.

Firewalking with Parkinson’s Disease

A few years ago, we did a Charity Firewalk with the Parkinson’s Support Group in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. We were asked if two men who had Parkinson’s could do the Firewalk. We discussed the implications at length with the organisers who then spoke with the men and they both said they still wanted to do the Firewalk.

I spoke to both men on the night of the Firewalk and again advised them that the shuffling of feet, stumbling, etc could increase the possibility of getting a burn from the Fire. Both men said that they have been dealing with Parkinson’s and therefore a burn would be nothing in comparison. So, they did it! We walked on either side of them to help with balance and they were both 100% ok.

That was an amazing night. It was full of very powerful stories and moments, and they raised over £22K! They are doing another Firewalk this June and we are looking forward to it already.

Firewalking with mobility issues

We have had numerous people turn up at Firewalks with a variety of mobility issues. Everything from being in a wheel chair most of the time to walking with a stick or to having a bad limp. We have always addressed the challenges the person could face by Firewalking and they have still taken the brave decision to go for it.

All the other participants really get behind this person and give them as much support as possible, both physical and emotional. It’s powerful stuff.

So, is there anyone who can’t Firewalk?

Well, it would be fair to say that if there is a will there is way. We are sure there are many other challenges that can be faced, and we will do our best to make Firewalking accessible to all. That said, there are some medical conditions that would make Firewalking very dangerous for the participant, e.g. diabetes. In such cases, it would be irresponsible for us to allow you to Firewalk.

If you have a medical condition you should always seek the advice of your physician before taking part in a Firewalk. You can talk with us too, but the doctors word should be final. And you know, people have sometimes Firewalked by being carried across the Fire on the back of a family member or friend.

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