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Image / Editorial

This Irish couple’s TED Talk about grief is the most inspiring thing you’ll see today


by Erin Lindsay
10th Sep 2018

Mark Pollock and Simone George speak at TED2018 - The Age of Amazement, April 10 - 14, 2018, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

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A new TED Talk by an Irish couple, who were forced to confront grief and healing when faced with paralysis, has already had almost half a million views since being uploaded yesterday.
Explorer Mark Pollock and human rights lawyer Simone George took to the TED stage in April to tell their story of Mark’s incredible journey with disability. Mark lost his sight when he was 22, but he didn’t let that hold him back from living life. He became the first blind person to race to the South Pole and ran marathons in the Gobi Desert in the years before another tragedy struck.
Mark fell out of a third storey window and broke his spine in two places, leaving him paralysed from the waist down. He and Simone were left with the prospect of living with blindness and paralysis, and how to deal with it; should they be optimists, realists, or something else entirely.
The couple decided to tackle Mark’s diagnosis head-on, and through tireless scientific research and collaborations with groundbreaking labs and scientists in the US and in Dublin, they found a truly inspiring way to combat Mark’s paralysis, through electrical stimulation of the spinal cord.
Mark and Simone’s story is amazing in terms of scientific breakthroughs, but where it really shines is in how the couple have learned to deal with grief. As Simone so beautifully puts it: “Acceptance is knowing that grief is a raging river. And you have to get into it. Because when you do, it carries you to the next place… somewhere that will turn out okay in the end”.
Excuse us while we grab the tissues. You can watch Simone and Mark’s extraordinary TED Talk here: