Army Major beats Still's Disease to cycle 100 miles for Blind Veterans UK
1 July 2014 15:13
An Army Major from Shrewsbury who is battling a rare disease will cycle 100 miles to raise money for blind military veterans.
Keith Fisher, 54, will cycle the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 10 August for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women - despite suffering from Still's Disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis which only affects a few hundred people in the UK each year.
The disease, which is extremely rare in adults, meant that Keith suffered from fevers and pains in his joints, which used to make it extremely difficult to cycle. Though Keith is currently in remission, the condition could return at any point in his life.
Despite this, Keith says he's determined to complete the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 for Blind Veterans UK
Keith says: "I've wanted to do the ride since I saw Boris Johnson cycling it on the news last year. I've been cycling for about six years now and thought, 'If Boris can do it, I certainly can!'
"Cycling was a big part of my recovery - the doctors said I should stay away from the gym to recover, but I wasn't going to let that stop me. I knew that keeping fit was going to keep my spirits up, so I did as much as I could.
"Still's Disease laid me out for weeks and when I first went out cycling, I couldn't even manage a two-mile cycle around the base where I was stationed. Little by little, though, I've managed to get back in the saddle."
Growing up in a military family, Keith set himself the goal of becoming a commissioned officer. Since joining the Army at 16 as a trainee chef, he has gone on to achieve his goal. Now serving as a Major in the Army Logistics Corps, Keith has served in the UK, Germany, Norway and Brunei, where he first took up cycling aged 48.
Before being diagnosed with Still's Disease, Keith completed a 3400 cycle in the gym to celebrate the 2012 Tour de France in a time of 95 hours. He says: "I'm not looking to race through the Prudential RideLondon route, but I'm determined to get through the day. I've cycled with people who struggle to complete the routes they've set out to do, so I always try to give encouragement to help them along.
"It's priceless seeing the faces of people who didn't think they could cycle all that way when they cross the finish-line. I enjoy the challenge and I'll be trying to help people along the route as well."
Keith wanted to raise money for Blind Veterans UK to mark the end of his military career. He says: "This will be my last year in the Army and I wanted to do something to mark that, as well as raising vital funds for veterans who are suffering with sight loss.
"As a lifelong soldier who came through Still's Disease, I wanted to help veterans with medical conditions - especially when it's something as important as sight."
To support Keith on the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, please visit his Just Giving Page. For more information about how Blind Veterans UK supports ex-Service men and women with sight loss, please visit our How We Help page.