Hi.  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Karim Rostami.  I’m from Afghanistan but I am now a proud citizen of New Zealand.  I love this amazing country that I now call home.
Let me share a little of my background, I am a survivor of the polio virus.  I was affected by it when I was a small toddler and the doctors predicted I would not walk again.  I lost all muscle control in my legs and hips leaving me paralysed but through years of intense muscle therapy I was taught how to walk again and regain my independence.
In 2014 I took up swimming and soon after a random stranger approached me at the pool asking me why I was pursuing the sport with my obvious disability (not having full use of my lower legs).  I explained my circumstances to him without thinking anything about it.  The following week he approached me again and with true 'kiwi' ingenuity he had designed a ‘rubber band’ (aka bike tyre) to be tied around the circumference of my lower legs.  This invention has proven to be the key to the success of my swimming and fund-raising endeavours.

In 2015 I decided to use my swimming and my story to raise money for Surf Life Saving NZ.  This was so successful that my story was picked up by the NZ Herald and the Breakfast Show.  We raised $3,000 for that incredible organisation.  In 2018 I joined with a group of entrepreneurs to fundraise for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.  We swam in teams from Waiheke Island to Mechanics Bay, Auckland - 21 km.  We raised a total of $126,000 with my contribution being $6,050.  We had an amazing time and it was a privilege to contribute to this worthy cause.
In March 2019 I again joined the Waiheke to Auckland 21 km ocean swim but this time I did it solo.  I completed the swim in my fastest time yet, under 6 hours and collectively we raised $160,000.  My contribution was $5,800 and it all went to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
On 7 December 2019, I will be doing the Iron Man 70.3 in Taupo.  That is a 1.9 km swim followed by a 90 km bike ride and the race finishes with a 21 km run.  I am partnering with Rotary International to raise funds that will go to support the awareness and eradication of polio around the world.  As a survivor of polio this is extremely personal to me.  All money raised will be doubled by the Bill Gates Foundation.  I would love for you to join me in this partnership with Rotary International and donate generously via my Givealittle page, Raising Funds for Polio.