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About Vasi

About Vasi

My name is VASILE STOICA and I was born in June 1970 into the village of Maguri Racatau from the Cluj region into a large and poor family made up of three sisters and four brothers, me being the fourth born. Up to the age of seven I spent lots of time moving from one hospital to another, suffering 13 operations at both legs, because I was born with a congenital paraplegia. Unfortunately these interventions didn't help me too much so that I was forced to spend my whole life as a wheelchair user. I spent my childhood at the special school no 9 from the village of Jucu de Sus in the Cluj region, where I graduated VIII forms among the physically disabled people. During that time I didn't have even a wheelchair. I was a "crawler". That was the name given in Jucu to the children who moved using only their hands because they didn't have any wheelchairs. In 1985 my father died and from then on the hardships began because he was the one who provided for the family.

In 1991 I arrived in Lugoj where I graduated from the painting Department of the Art School. Painting was a hobby of mine even from childhood. My gift was appreciated, I took part in art exhibitions and tried to support myself from painting. Beginning with 1992 after a visit to France I saw that the disabled people practiced sports as well and that's how I decided to become a wheelchair sportsman myself. In the spring of 1993 The Lugoj Association of the Physically Disabled people of whom I was a member was invited to participate at the European Conference of the Disabled People which was held in Siofok in Hungary. Than I decided to make the whole distance from Lugoj to Siofok by wheelchair as a gesture of friendship. I rode 340 Km in 4 days. In May 1993 I took part into the Challenge DAY marathon which was held in Bucharest. I was the first wheelchair user from Romania who took part in this marathon.

In August 1993 I started into a new tour. This time I wanted to arrive in France. The Marathon of courage meant 3400Km. distance that I rode alone by wheelchair in 40 days. I rode through Hungary, Austria, Germany and France. The aim of this tour was my participation at the national conference of the BUGIES De NOEL. My tour was a gesture of friendship and a way of thanking to all the people and associations who had helped the disabled people from Romania. My courage of starting alone in this tour set an example for all the disabled people from Romania. I became a public person known and appreciated both in Romania and abroad. The fact that I was received by Mrs. DANIELLE MITTERAND herself at the Ellysse Palace proves that my gesture was highly appreciated. I came back home and began training myself and participating together with other mates from Lugoj at sports competitions for disabled people. In a short while I became a champion in the speed and resistance wheelchair competitions. In 1994 I established in Lugoj the Sports Club of the Physically Disabled people MARATHON '93 Lugoj. I was nominated the club "s president. In a short while our club became the strongest disabled people's club in the country.

In 1995 I decided to start on a new tour. This time it was A WHEELCHAIR WORLD TOUR, with the aim of participating at the opening of the PARALYMPIC GAMES in ATLANTA.I left Bucharest on the 15 May 1995. I rode through ROMANIA, HUNGARY, SLOVAKIA, POLAND, SWEDEN, DENMARK, GERMANY, HOLLAND, BELGIUM, and FRANCE. Unfortunately at the Spanish border I was forced to abort the tour, because I couldn't find any sponsors. I was very sad because of this event since my physical condition was very good and the participation at the PG. was a very cherished dream. I didn't give up, though, I continued to train myself and to hope that one day I will succeed.

In May 1998, I began a ROUND THE WORLD TOUR by wheelchair. I returned in May 1999, after crossing parts of Europe,(Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France), Canada, U.S.A., Australia (est coast from Melbourne to Cairns), North Africa (Egypt), Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.

On OCTOBER 20-21, 2001,VALENCIA, CA , I broke the Guinness World Record for covering the longest distance in a wheelchair in 24-hours. I beat the existing 77.58 mile record in 19 hours and 16 minutes. I continued to go more laps around the 400 meter track for a final 24-hour record of 82 miles. The event ended with a group of neighborhood children running the last lap.

My world record is part of BROKEN WINGS, a new documentary series about extraordinary disabled people being produced by Amphion Productions (amphionpro.com / brokenwings.tv)

On May28, 2003 I became the first paraplegic to travel Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago, journeying completely on my own and powered only by my hands. I undertook this amazing 66-day feat to raise awareness for disability issues in my home country, as well as gather funds for the Association for the Physically Disabled of Lugoj in Romania, which recently lost its central headquarters and one of its members to a fire.

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