Newport MS man's epic walk through London
8:02am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Gwent news
OUT ON THE ROAD: Newport man Stuart Nixon, supported by wife Marie, on his 60km trek through London to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society
TWO days into a gruelling nine-day fundraising walk, Stuart Nixon thought there was no way he was going to be able to complete it.
Mr Nixon, who has lived with the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis for 30 years and has used a wheelchair for the last 15 of those, had set himself the target of walking 60 kilometres through London with the aid of a specially designed frame to celebrate the work of, and raise £60,000 for, the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MSS).
But 100 metres from the end of his second day's walking, he found himself unable to take another step.
A week on from that low point however, Mr Nixon is back home in Newport celebrating the completion of his challenge.
Mr Nixon had come up with the idea of walking 60km and trying to raise £60,000, to mark the MS Society's 60th birthday.
For someone with mobility only in one leg, and who can only walk 10 metres with a stick and then only with the help of his wife Marie, it was a lofty ambition.
Students at Northumbria University designed a bespoke walking frame for him, which supported his immobile leg while he propelled himself along using his 'good' leg and his upper body strength.
His challenge, called 'Stu Steps Up - 100,000 steps for MS’ in recognition of the 100,000 people in the UK living with MS, involved walking London's Jubilee Greenway, from St. James’s Park to the Olympic Stadium and back.
He began on Saturday October 5, but by the end of the following day's section, he was in despair.
“Looking back over the last nine days there have been massive highs and lows. At the end of the second day I wondered whether we were going to finish it," said Mr Nixon.
"I got within 100 metres of the day’s end point and could not put another foot down. But as the days passed I could feel myself getting stronger and fitter and I knew we could do it.
"I wanted to do something significant, and this has been a remarkable experience.
“Walking down The Mall to the finish was one of the most fulfilling and uplifting experiences of my life. It was beautiful to share that with so many of my friends and family. People have used the word ‘inspiration’ to describe me and what I’ve done. I find that incredibly humbling."
Mr Nixon, 49, completed the walk alongside his wife Marie, eldest son Sean and MSS volunteer Tony Knappett.
“The support has been unbelievable, not just from friends and family but from complete strangers who have seen us on the walk and stopped to cheer us on or ask how they could support us," said Mr Nixon.
"That’s been the best part - meeting people, spreading the word - it’s been wonderful.”
Mr Nixon, who works for Aneurin Bevan Health Board, has already raised £9,200 towards his target and support from Arora Hotels could raise £25,000.
* Donations can still be made to the Stu Steps Up challenge at www.justgiving.com/stustepsup or by texting SNMS60 to 70070.
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