Freddie Wheeler came to heads up! six months after his stroke, having been told that he would never walk again. After two years of great effort on his part, working with heads up!, community physiotherapists and a personal trainer, he completed a one mile sponsored walk.
“The idea of signing up to walk a mile in aid of Macmillan Nurses was conceived by Carrie, my wife, as a good way of setting an achievable target for me to work towards. She was supported in this notion by my heads up! neurological physiotherapist and my personal trainer. There was a month or two to go before the walk had to be done, so I went along with the idea. Gradually the plan leaked out to friends and neighbours, and before long they had promised so much sponsorship that the notion of failing to take on the challenge was unthinkable.
Based on performance on the treadmill, I was foolishly confident that I could do the mile as long as the time did not matter and Carrie promised to be not too far behind with a chair.
The next consideration was where this athletic summit could be climbed. Accordingly we hired the Guildford Spectrum running track for two hours on Sunday 23rd May because, of course, this was flat and coping with hills or kerbs etc, in addition to walking a mile was out of the question.
Eventually the day dawned (it had been hanging over us like an execution day). The day was warm and sunny without being hot, just right! A good crowd of friends, family and staff of heads up! turned up to cheer me on and the training team were on hand with words of encouragement and advice on technique. The neighbours insisted on serenading me with a version of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ which seemed more like a threat than an inspirational anthem.
I am not sure that Roger Bannister had a sit down and a glass of squash after each lap which is no doubt the reason that it took me a little over three hours compared to Bannister’s four minutes. Anyway, I did it and was mightily relieved to be able to face my sponsors and not to have to give them back their money. Everyone was very supportive which made it so much easier to do.
At the end the sense of achievement was such that I admitted it had been one of Carrie’s better ideas. By the way, thanks to the incredible generosity of our sponsors, we raised almost £500 for the Macmillan Nurses.”