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Despite all odds, Mississauga grandfather planning to climb the CN Tower

Click to play video: 'Mississauga grandfather is planning to do the CN Tower Climb despite all odds'
Mississauga grandfather is planning to do the CN Tower Climb despite all odds
WATCH ABOVE: Despite all odds, a Mississauga grandfather is planning to do the CN Tower Climb – Apr 13, 2016

TORONTO – Eight years ago, 63-year-old Julian Backhouse was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Wilson’s disease that affects his physical strength and coordination. Yet despite all of this, he tries hard to remain active.

For the second year in a row, Backhouse is participating in the CN Tower Climb for nature in support of the World Wildlife Fund.

“It was a challenge and it was something I knew I could do,” Backhouse said. “Stair climbing has never been difficult for me. Coming downstairs is difficult, walking flat is difficult.”

READ MORE: CN Tower Climb for Nature returns this weekend

When asked what it felt like to reach the top of the tower last year, Backhouse said he felt “total satisfaction.”

“I thought I would have needed a flashlight and a tent before I’d finished,” he said. “But when I finished an hour and sixteen minutes, it surprised the hell out of me.”

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To say that Backhouse is inspiring is an understatement. When he was first diagnosed, he was in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation.

Now, Backhouse manages to get around with the help of his wheelchair, shuffling when he walks.

Although Backhouse said the disease makes him feel as though his feet are glued to the ground, walking up stairs helps trigger his movement.

Every spring for the last 26 years, thousands of individuals, groups and corporate teams climb 1,776 steps of Toronto’s CN Tower to raise funds for a great cause.

Former mayor David Miller, President and CEO of WWF, said the climb is the organization’s most important fundraiser.

“We raise about a million dollars each year, and that money goes to WWF’s really critical conservation work in Canada,” he said, adding that Backhouse’s efforts are amazing.

“He’s a man with fantastic athletic background—coached, played sports, played rugby. Despite the fact he needs to get around the city in a scooter and he’s gonna climb the CN Tower, I think it’s magnificent.”

The climb takes place this weekend, visit the organization’s website for more information.

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