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Disabled veteran completes 874-mile charity cycle challenge (VIDEO)

An army veteran, who was partially paralysed from a brain injury sustained in a near-fatal motorcycle collision six years’ ago, has crossed the finish line of an 874-mile charity challenge.

This week, Steve, a former Warrant Officer with the Royal Engineers, achieved his target of cycling the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats on a static bike. He raised over £1,000 for Care for Veterans, a care and rehabilitation facility in Worthing, where he is a resident.

Life completely changed for Steve when, after returning home from a second tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was involved in an accident whilst out riding his beloved motorbike. He suffered a severe brain injury which significantly affected his speech and paralysed one side of his body. Aged just 39, he was suddenly unable to walk and needed to use a wheelchair. Before his accident, Steve served in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Sierra Leone. He was a Joint Service Mountain Expedition Leader, loved canoeing, mountain biking and snowboarding.

Steve completed the final stretch of his cycle challenge on his 45th birthday and celebrated crossing the finish line with staff at Care for Veterans. His family was outside cheering him on, as visitors are not currently allowed inside the facility due to the current Covid restrictions. Helping him celebrate via a video call, were four of his former army colleagues, as well as the actor, Christopher Timothy, who supports the charity.

The video shows Steve achieving his challenge supported by Care for Veterans Physiotherapists, Vilma Gaucyte and Rob Wallace, and Occupational Therapist Technician, Craig Burley. The team worked with Steve throughout his challenge and organised the celebration on Saturday 21st November 2020.

Speaking on the day, Steve said: “I finished my bike ride on my static bike today. It was lovely to finish it, and I’ve raised loads of money for charity. I liked doing it as it was good for me – I can’t walk, but this will help me to get better. I decided to support Care for Veterans, as the charity looks after people like me!”

Steve set himself the challenge to complete during his physiotherapy sessions which form part of his extensive rehabilitation. Steve cycles approximately 13km in 60 minutes: 20 mins with his arms, 40 mins with his legs, two to three times a week.

Lead Physiotherapist at Care for Veterans, Emma Curtis, said: “I can say that Steve has absolutely loved his cycle challenge and now wants to set new cycling goals. He looks forward to his cycling a lot. The exercise helps with his psychological wellbeing, cardiorespiratory health, as well as re-building muscle strength in legs and arms and helping with weight loss.

“Setting himself this challenge has been a real motivation, and we have been overwhelmed with the support he has received. We need to raise £1.9 million each year to fund tailored and comprehensive care and rehabilitation programmes for our residents, which really help them to improve their quality of life. We are extremely grateful to Steve and so proud of his attitude and achievement, especially during a time when Covid restrictions have had such a huge impact on the number of activities and visitors our residents can enjoy.”

Steve came to Care for Veterans in December 2018, after spending three years in various hospitals and rehabilitation centres where he was not making progress and had become depressed. Since arriving at Care for Veterans, he has made improvements in his speech and movements. Steve said: “Care for Veterans has given me a new mindset and the determination to succeed with my recovery.”

Care for Veterans, a UK charity based in Worthing, provides the highest possible standard of care and rehabilitation to disabled veterans from the RAF, Army, Royal Navy and auxiliary services. A centre of excellence for acquired brain injuries and degenerative neurological conditions, the 60-bed facility provides services, including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy, to help rehabilitate those who live there so that they can live more independent lives.

To sponsor Steve, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-curry4steve-boylan or call the Care for Veterans fundraising team on 01903 218444 or email fundraising@careforveterans.org.uk.

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