Gemma Hassen-Bey and Elena Jacinto tell us about overcoming obstacles through sport.

In the event held in the DKV Tower, the two Paralympians discussed how practising sport has helped them to improve their lives

Gema Hassen-Bey, the medalist and pioneer of the Paralympic fencing, and Elena Jacinto, Head of Quality at the DKV Integralia Foundation and renowned Paralympic tennis player, participated in an event held in the DKV Tower in Zaragoza in which they spoke about the most significant challenges in their lives and how sport has become a tool for personal growth.

Gema Hassen-Bey, who has participated in the Paralympic Games on five occasions and surprised us all last November when she scaled the Teide, the highest peak in Spain standing at 3,718 metres. She became the first athlete in the world to climb the mountain in a wheelchair powered only by the strength of her arms. The adventure took twelve days and she could not have done it without the help of her team, or the people and companies, such as DKV, that supported her both financially and emotionally. “What's important is knowing how to help. You don't need to travel great distances or donate huge sums of money. Sometimes, a simple gesture is enough. There is a lot of solidarity in that”, stated the athlete during the talk.

Elena Jacinto is also an example of overcoming obstacles and optimism. She suffered a spinal injury in an accident and as a result, or “thanks to this” as she often says, it was detected that she had a mental illness which was subsequently treated and is now under control. “Sport is important for any disabled person, however, it is scientifically proven to help stabilise mental illnesses”, explained Jacinto.

The session concluded with a presentation of “Oxfam Intermón Trailwalker, 100 km, Una causa” given by Oscar Hernández, Head of Sports Events and Fund Raising at Oxfam Intermón. This is the largest team sporting and solidarity challenge that exists. The participants are divided into teams of 6 people (4 members of the team walk and the other 2 make up the support team offering the necessary assistance at different points of the route) who are faced with the challenge of covering 100 kilometres in 32 hours, in order to fight against poverty and the right to water. Prior to the challenge, the participants raised 1,500 euros which will go towards Oxford Intermón programmes. This initiative aims to promote teamwork, leadership, and a sense of continuity, solidarity, effort, and commitment.

Elena Jacinto has participated several times in this sporting and solidarity event which DKV has been sponsoring since its launch in Spain in 2011. “It is hard, but when you finish you forget about everything. There are women that have to walk 50 km every day to fetch water. It makes you think: Can I really not do it?”, explains the athlete. “Thanks to this initiative, Oxfam Intermón has received sufficient donations to promote over 400 projects in 90 countries. There are a lot of people that need our help and everyone can do their bit”, adds Jacinto.

DKV understands how important it is for companies to go beyond making financial profits, and to assume their ethical, social and environmental responsibility through actions aimed at interest groups. As an insurance company, DKV endeavours to create a healthier world in the fields of healthcare, the environment, childhood obesity, the labour integration of people with disabilities, and active ageing.