My name is Emmanuel Nicodemos Oliveira Santana, I am a Biologist and I work as an environmental consultant.
I’m married, I have 2 children and a goddaughter who lives with us. I met with a motorcycle accident in 2005 and lost the movements of my left foot.
The disability is known in the orthopedic area as “pé caído” (fallen foot, in a literal translation). It occurs when the nerve connection of the tibial plateau is disrupted.
I have had been in the hospital for almost a year and was early dismissed because the specialists said that my problem had no solution. Then I started to live a more sedentary lifestyle.
I was depressed and at the same time had a hard obesity – I reached 127 kg!
However, during that time, I studied biology at the State University of Montes Claros (UNIMONTES). I became a Biologist and got obsessed with poisonous animals.
So, just before I graduated, I spent every weekend in the field looking for this kind of creatures.
Therefore, I had a great intimacy with nature, having contact with nature and animals of all kinds.
Although, I always feel upset and anxious for not walking right, and always feeling sorry about myself for my disability.
One day, in 2017, I watched a documentary that calls “Valley Uprising”. It’s about the epic history of climbing in Yosemite National Park.
I started to look for more documentaries, and I ended up watching “The Dawn Wall” which tells the story of Tommy Caldwell, and at that moment I thought that I need to lose weight, and I needed to climb.
I focused on the gym every day, I changed my diet by myself, only with information from the internet. Then 5 months later I had lost 15kg.
One year later, I had reduced 35kg.
After a year and a half, I’ve had lost 52 kg.
However, when I got to weigh 75 kilograms I was very weak and without strength.
Nowadays, I have a great physical shape with 86 kilos, but I have gained big muscles.
During this effort in the first 6 months of weight loss, I surprised a lot of people, with my dedication.
They believed I had developed some sort of obsession for training, but it worked.
Then I started watching several climbing videos, remembering that my contact with the vertical world had been years before as a guide for waterfall trails and setting up a rappelling system in waterfalls and cliffs in my region.
I had no experience in climbing. When I climbed the first time, I invited my 61-year-old father-in-law to make me safe, and it wasn’t even TOP ROPE.
Then a friend who is my coworker listened to my comments about my interest and adventure and said he was interested in climbing together.
As I had already invested in equipment for two people and since my city doesn’t have a climbing academy or climbers, we booked a day and we went.
I believe that the day when I decided to climb and dedicated myself to weight loss, I was already been in a new world with fantastic people.
Once again, I have the privilege to live up to my teenage dream which was there before I encountered the painful accident.
As my city doesn’t have a climbing gym, I built a small training station in my backyard.
I can train with my sons, João and Lucas, and my goddaughter Isabela and also with the friends whom I’m taking for the climb as well.
In December 2020, I started a paragliding course.
Also, I am in a process of learning to also fulfill my dream of flying.
I have plans to continue my journey, always believing in my dreams and pass this feeling to my children.
Walking, climbing, and flying, even with the difficulty that my left leg submits me, makes me more willing to win.
It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.