STEVEN Smith was told he would never walk again – now he is preparing to take on the London Marathon.
The Stratford resident was attacked at his holiday home in the south of France in 2011 by armed men broke into his property. To escape them, he jumped out of a first floor window, fell into a ravine and broke his spine.
Steven has stunned doctors with his recovery over the past six years following his spinal injury and is now able to walk with the aid of a stick.
But although the 57 year-old still experiences a host of complications as a result of his injury, he will be aiming to complete the marathon in 14 hours when he takes to the streets of the capital on Sunday (April 23).
It will be an incredible feat considering the difficulty he has moving and the pain that will be caused.
Steven told The Observer: “After my injury in 2011 my legs often feel extremely heavy – they feel like they are made of lead. I won’t be training too much, as I don’t want to aggravate the injury. I think I’ve only got one marathon in me and I don’t want to run out of steam too early.”
Steven will undertake the challenge in aid of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (nsif) – a charity devoted to finding a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.
Mike Milner, CEO of nsif, said: “The London Marathon is an enormous challenge for anyone taking part – but to undertake a challenge of this scale when every step is a struggle will really push Steven to his limits.
“Steven has shown incredible mental and physical strength in his attempt to recover from his injury. Many people don’t realise the extent of the complications that a spinal cord injury can cause, it is a life-long battle for good health due to the hidden effects of the injury.
“We believe in a future where there will be a cure for spinal injury and we are enormously grateful to Steven taking on this epic challenge”
Steven will aim to raise £250,000 for nsif. Visit http://bit.ly/2mLBL8S to support his effort.