Michael McGrath delivered the fifth Annual Leahy Lecture last night to a very appreciative audience of boys and parents from Forms 4, 5 and 6, staff and other guests.
Michael, who at the age of 18 in 1984 was diagnosed with the muscle wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy, made history 20 years later by becoming the first disabled person to lead expeditions to the North and South Poles. Michael is an inspirational speaker, successful business leader and a catalyst for real and lasting change. Characterised by his energy, charisma and motivation, Michael can unleash potential, stimulating organisational success, inspiring and moving people to a place of action’. Sir Richard Branson said ‘Michael McGrath is an inspiration'.
During the lecture, Michael recounted his trip to both poles and the character traits that he believed he needed to complete this amazing feat. He spoke about what he believes are key traits for effective leadership and teamwork, how to motivate and inspire people and the importance of being resilient. He expanded on his personal moto : Quant Je Puis, which translates from old French to ‘As much as I can.’
Michael also spoke about how he used his Arctic experience as an inspiration to launch the charity, The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF), of which he is CEO. MHF is a small, niche family charity working to help fulfil the dreams of children and young people with the muscle wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. In addition, MHF has over several years established partnerships with other muscular dystrophy charities such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support UK and Duchenne Family Support Group (DFSG) as well as strong links and relationships with many hospices across the country. MHF is an active member of Together for Short Lives, a leading UK charity for children with life-threatening & life-limiting conditions.
MHF currently has a singular focus to deliver ‘ 657 Muscle Dreams’ - that’s cherished ambitions and dreams for children and young people with Muscular Dystrophy. The number 657 represents the number of muscles in the human body.
As of March 2017, this award-winning charity has delivered 241 Muscle Dreams experiences, including; interviewing Al Pacino, inspecting an Airbus A380, and hanging out with Lewis Hamilton. It’s impact is being felt across the UK by beneficiaries, families, their friends and the wider community including schools.
Michael also talked about Muscle Warriors. These are a unique band of fundraisers and volunteers that help make the Muscle Help Foundation’s Muscle Dreams possible. Some Muscle Warriors secure sponsorship by competing in exciting physical fundraising events and challenges. Others chose to make a direct donation, while many volunteer to support the charity’s events and Muscle Dream delivery days. Muscle Warriors are the lifeblood of the charity, doing whatever it takes to move a muscle, to help another muscle. Some of the SCC boys committed on the night to become Muscle Warriors.
Our thanks to Michael McGrath for delivering this inspiring Leahy Lecture.