Severely disabled Huddersfield man Stephen Collins is to take on his toughest fundraiser yet .. walking 35 miles in a week for Cancer Research UK.
Just walking is ultra tough going for him but he’s determined to do it at the rate of five miles a day with each mile taking around an hour. Every step is a huge physical challenge.
Last October he did a five-mile sponsored walk around Greenhead Park and down into Huddersfield town centre which took him five hours. He raised £1,750 for Stand Up To Cancer, the joint fundraising campaign by Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, after losing both his dad and sister-in-law to cancer.
Stephen has cerebral palsy and doctors told his parents when he was born he would never walk but, continually encouraged and supported by his parents, Stephen certainly proved the medics wrong
Stephen, 64, lives in Longwood and will be doing his latest walk in Greenhead Park over seven days starting next Sunday, August 12.
He’s already in training and is a familiar sight to anyone visiting the park. Each lap he does is 1.1 miles.
Stephen said: “On the first day I’ll try to do all five miles in one go but after then it’ll be something like three in the morning and a couple in the afternoon with a rest in between.
“My greatest fear is the rain as it can make it slippy. People are used to seeing me training and pat me on the back which is wonderful.
“I don’t even know if I will complete the new task I’ve set myself. This will be a massive challenge and will push me to my limits. All I can say is I will put in the effort to do my 35-mile walk – if people could sponsor me for doing this, that would be amazing. At the moment I only have £125 which is not a lot of money for an awful lot of walking.”
Stephen was well-known as an entrepreneur, running his own successful mobility equipment business, Lazarus Mobility, and was mentored by Dragons Den star Duncan Bannatyne. Now retired, Stephen spends his time tinkering with his treasured collection of Jaguar motorcars.
He was hit hard when he lost his beloved dad, Walter, to brain cancer 23 years ago, as his dad was his best friend and mentor. He also found it very difficult when he lost his sister-in-law, Maureen, to cancer, as he was very close to her.
He said previously: “People might not believe me, but I’ve been lucky. My life has been fantastic and I’ve achieved a lot and have so much to be grateful for, even with my own disability.
“But it’s not always easy for someone faced with cancer and that’s why I want to raise as much money as possible to help fund life-saving research and help bring forward the day when people won’t lose the people they love because of cancer.
“I want the rest of my family to grow up in a world free from the fear of cancer.”
In 2018 Stephen suffered a badly broken leg in two places when he tripped, fell and then became trapped beneath a door on an industrial unit.
He said: “I knew it was bad as I heard a crunch when the door hit me and when I looked down at my ankle I realised it was pointing the wrong way. The doctors told me I may never walk again but I was determined to do so. I’ve never let cerebral palsy get me down. My philosophy on life is you just have to do your best and now I’m doing all I can to help others.”
Stephen is married to Sally and they have a grown up daughter Rose.
Around 33,500 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Support Stephen by donating on his fundraising page at https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/stephen-at-it-again
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.