Derby blind veteran to tackle 100k ultra-challenge walk to thank military charity for support
4 April 2016 09:49
A blind veteran from Borrowash is set to tackle a 100k ultra-challenge for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.
The walk from Denby Dale to Sheffield will be the first endurance event Gary Stevenson, 49, has attempted. He signed up on the spur of the moment to thank the military charity for its support.
Gary joined the Royal Corps of Transport in 1989 as a stevedore, loading and unloading ships at military ports in the UK, and also in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. After leaving the Army in 1991, he worked as a lorry driver, but lost his sight suddenly in 2009 due to a meningitis-related stroke.
He says, "I went to bed sighted and woke up blind. I went from being independent to having to rely on everyone."
Gary began to receive support from Blind Veterans UK last year and is currently receiving IT training to help him return to work. He has been trained in using a long cane and also received equipment, including a Milestone - a recording device to help him remember appointments. He plans to complete a LifeWorks course to improve his confidence when looking for a job.
Gary says about his planned walk, "I just wanted to give something back because the charity has helped me."
Gary is already training for his ultra-challenge by walking to his local coffee shop before breakfast every morning, a nine-mile round trip. He has also been walking with his daughter, who will be his sighted guide.
He says, "I'm definitely looking forward to it - it's a real challenge. My plan is to finish the 100k in 20 hours."
Registration for the 100k, which will kick off in Denby Dale on Saturday 18 June, is currently open with a fee of £60. Teams taking part in the relay have a registration fee of £100. The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes lunch, dinner and breakfast at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.
The 100k challenge is a joint fundraising event for Blind Veterans UK and Guide Dogs. The walk will take participants over the green hills, rugged moors and small stone-walled villages of Yorkshire and the Peak District and finishes at the Blind Veterans UK centre and Guide Dogs outreach office in Sheffield.
To support Gary as he tackles the 100k Yorkshire for Blind Veterans UK, please visit justgiving.com/garyandemilystevenson.
To sign up for the 100k Yorkshire challenge, please visit 100kyorkshire.org.uk