Thea Davies takes part in Ironman New Zealand for blind veterans

13 March 2014 14:45

Inspirational fundraiser Thea Davies tackles an Iron Man in New Zealand for Blind Veterans UK. Find out more about her epic challenge.

Thea Davies' life changed forever on 26th May 2012 when her partner - 29 year old Captain Stephen Healey of 1st Ballalion The Royal Welsh, died in action in Afghanistan. While Thea would be forgiven for immersing herself in grief, she has instead chosen to honour Captain Healey's memory by undertaking a 415 mile, year-long running challenge to raise funds for his favourite charity - Blind Veterans UK.

Thea completed her challenge at the Chester Marathon on the 6th October 2013, which she and Stephen completed in 2011. Thea chose the figure of 415 miles as Captain Healey was the 415th fallen soldier.  Now Thea has embarked on a new fundraising challenge in a bid to raise £2,000 for Blind Veterans UK in 2014.

Thea has already completed the Auckland Half Iron Man in January 2014 and also plans to tackle the New Zealand Iron Man on 1 March, the Cotswold '113' Middle distance triathlon on 15 June, Long Course Weekend from the 11th July, and finally the Iron Man Wales on 14th September.

Thea said: "Completing the Iron Man is a personal challenge. I started to train for Triathlons the week Steve left for Afghanistan in March 2012. I joined a club and really enjoyed it. Following Steve's death I stopped but I gradually returned and June 2013 I completed a middle distance triathlon and now my goal is to complete a full iron man.

"Steve supported Blind Veterans UK after one of his men was visually impaired following an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010. "Shaun was severely injured loosing both legs, one eye and was left with minimal vision in his other eye. I have had the honour of meeting Shaun and other veterans since Steve died and they are so so grateful to the help and support the charity Blind Veterans UK have given them to lead independent lives.

"Shaun has progressed so well since his incident and he is a true inspiration and after visiting the rehabilitation centres and getting more involved with the charity and their veterans I just want to keep supporting them in all I do."
Captain Healey was an active fundraiser for Blind Veterans UK because of the support that we gave to a number of soldiers who had lost their sight through IED explosions in Afghanistan. Just before his last tour he organised a blindfolded sponsored walk to our rehabilitation and training

Of Thea's challenge Blind Veterans UK's Chief Executive Robert Leader said: "Thea's support for Blind Veterans UK has been one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen. At a time of enormous personal tragedy for her she chose to take up Stephen's mantle and continue the amazing work that he had done to support ex-Service men and women, blinded both in action and later life. We owe both her and Stephen a huge debt of gratitude and what they have done for our people will never be forgotten."

You can follow Thea's challenge on her Facebook page or show your support to Thea by visiting her Just Giving page.A diary of her 415 mile challenge is available on our website.