New Legs for the Human Swan

Total raised £16,465

raised so far

+ est. £1074.25 Gift Aid

152

supporters

Support Sacha's journey from tragedy to triumph. Help fund an exoskeleton that avoids amputation for a return to leading expeditions

We're still collecting donations

On the 12th February 2024 we'd raised £16,025 with 146 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Sacha Dench is the renowned conservationist, scientist, adventurer, founder of Conservation Without Borders and UN Ambassador for Migratory Species. Back in 2021, it was while she was leading the Round Britain Climate Challenge when her life changed in an instant. While flying in a paramotor around the UK to highlight solutions to climate change, tragedy struck. Days before the end of the expedition, a freak accident saw Sacha fall 150 feet, breaking more than 20 bones from her jaw down. She sustained life-changing injuries to her legs and endured many complex surgeries. Her remarkable recovery continues to this day.   

But this is not where the story ends… 

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A Force for Change 

Against all the odds Sacha is now walking again, but if she is to return to leading conservation expeditions, extreme challenges remain.  

Sacha is determined not to let this setback stop her from continuing her mission to lead a powerful force for change. Today, we are launching the “New Legs for the Human Swan" crowdfunding campaign to equip Sacha with the prosthetics she needs to get her back on her feet, continue her journey, and get our next set of exciting expeditions off the ground. 

Her story is one of unwavering resilience, determination and innovation. The accident has presented a new set of challenges but, together, we can work to overcome them. 

Sacha's Story: 

Sacha is a passionate conservationist who has devised innovative methods to raise awareness of the threats and potential solutions to migratory species and the global climate crisis.  

Before her accident, Sacha was an extreme sportswoman and adventurer: she was a Freediving champion, an experienced paramotor pilot and cave explorer.  

In 2017, she became known as the ‘Human Swan’ after her epic 7,000km flight in a paramotor from the Arctic to the UK, to tackle the decline in Bewick's Swans. The project won Environmental Campaign of the Year, Sacha achieved the Guinness World Record for crossing the Channel in a paramotor and became the first woman in 50 years to win the Britannia Trophy for an outstanding feat of aviation. 

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After losing her family home in the devastating wildfires in Australia in 2020, she turned her attention to climate change and launched the Round Britain Climate Challenge in 2021.  

After the tragic accident, for Sacha the road ahead was uncertain. Medical teams in Scotland and Bristol fought hard to save her legs but warned she may never walk again.  Multiple operations, gruelling rehabilitation courses, and a fierce will to walk, got her back on her feet, but she still required the help of wheelchairs and crutches.  

Sacha was determined to continue her fight for conservation.  

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In 2022, despite both of her legs being in either a heavy cage or plaster cast, she travelled with her Conservation Without Borders team from the UK to Africa on an expedition to raise awareness and find solutions to the threats to ospreys. The support she received to tackle this expedition was amazing, but the challenges were obvious. Even now, though the cage and casts are off and the crutches aren’t used as often, Sacha still can’t walk long distances, run, freedive, or fly a paramotor.... like she used to. 

A return to the skies

Conservation Without Borders has exciting expeditions on the horizon, as part of its groundbreaking 2030 Global Challenge. But Sacha still faces a significant hurdle if she is to lead them. The medical wizards and Sacha’s dogged determination have gone as far as they can. Despite her amazing recovery, Sacha has missing ligaments and deformed bones in both lower legs, ankles and feet, reducing their movement, flexibility and strength. 

However, recent developments in prosthetic technology could get Sacha fully back on her feet. 

A specialist prosthetics facility in the US has developed unique prosthetic leg technology that could take on the tasks of Sacha’s lower limbs giving back the strength, bend and spring to enable her to run, jump, dive and fly again. By providing Sacha with bespoke prosthetic legs, we not only fully restore her mobility, but also allow her to continue fighting for environmental causes that impact us all.

And, as a women on prosthetic legs, it could inspire others by showing how human ingenuity can overcome the most difficult of challenges. 

To launch these next expeditions, your support is crucial. And thanks to match funders, every donation will be doubled.  

How You Can Help:

Donate: Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a significant impact in helping Sacha obtain the prosthetic legs she needs, as well as getting the expeditions off the ground. 

Share: Spread the word about this campaign on social media, email, and in your community. The more people who know, the closer we get to our goal. 

Inspire: Encourage others to support this cause and to join Sacha's mission. Together, we can create a ripple effect of positive change. 

Why This Matters: 

Environmental issues are pressing concerns that require the collective efforts of every individual. Sacha’s story is a testament to the fact that personal setbacks can be transformed into powerful catalysts for change.  

As she travelled through Africa, she inspired others along the way, who were stunned that despite everything she had gone through, she was still pushing through and inspired other conservationists to never give up hope, even when things seem impossible.  

By helping her regain her mobility, we enable Sacha to continue her vital work, inspiring countless others to take action for our planet. 

Where does your money go?

1.    Prosthetic Legs: Funding from this campaign will go directly towards providing Sacha with state-of-the-art bespoke prosthetic legs, enabling her to move freely and comfortably. It will also provide funding for transport to America, leg fitting, rehabilitation and possible adaptations. 

2.    Awareness and Outreach: With restored mobility, Sacha will continue her expeditions, raising awareness about climate change, endangered species, and the urgent need for environmental conservation. 

3.    Inspiration: By supporting Sacha, you contribute to a source of inspiration for others facing adversity. Together, we can show that we can turn the impossible into unstoppable. 

Thank you for being a force for change. 

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Testimonial  

"You will be able to run and do everything again. You will do things differently but you can do anything you want to do as long as it’s on your terms and time. I even do search and rescue in the Mojave Canyon and high elevation. It is super hard at first and everyone panics. We think this isn’t going to work and then within a few weeks it clicks. The Exosym is truly a hybrid prosthetic orthotic. Unlike other devices the Exosym actually has a prosthetic leg (two rods in the back). It’s a totally different experience than anything else I tried.

So, let my experience serve as a lesson to you. Enjoy yourself and trust the process," Scott Davidson, double Exosym user.

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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£500 or more

Good Cause/School Talk

Sacha will speak at a school, or good cause, of your choice and share her inspiring story (UK based only)

£1,000 or more

Small Business Talk

Small Business Talk: £1,000 Throughout this month we are offering the opportunity to book Sacha for your 2024 event, at a special rate: for a donation to our crowdfunder, to help get Sacha back out on expeditions. Sacha needs new ‘legs’. *any travel costs would need to be covered

£2,000 or more

Medium Business Talk

Medium Business Talk: Throughout this month we are offering the opportunity to book Sacha for your 2024 event, at a special rate: for a donation to our crowdfunder, to help get Sacha back out on expeditions. Sacha needs new ‘legs’. *any travel costs would need to be covered

£3,000 or more

Large corporation talk

Large corporation talk. Throughout this month we are offering the opportunity to book Sacha for your 2024 event, at a special rate: for a donation to our crowdfunder, to help get Sacha back out on expeditions. Sacha needs new ‘legs’. *any travel costs would need to be covered

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