Posted on March 2021 By Jamie Southwell
A disabled man from Norfolk has managed to raise the incredible amount of over £12,000 for the NHS through walking a total of 125 miles in an assisted exoskeleton suit. Managing to have “smashed” his goal for the challenge.
Simon Kindleysides is a 36-year-old paralysed man from Blofield, Norfolk, and was able to walk four miles every day during the entire month of February earlier in the year. Achieving his target meant reaching 112 miles, which he was able to do above and beyond with the use of a robotic exoskeleton suit, allowing him to work as one with the machine.
The piece of technology is designed in a way to help counteract the limitations of someone’s disability, even enhancing their capabilities further in some cases. Operating on batteries that require to be charged every four miles, each suit is unique and in the case of Simon is controlled by his watch.
It was purchased for Kindleysides at £100,000 from a mysterious benefactor who saw him being interviewed on television after running the London Marathon in the suit in 2018, when he was only being loaned it for the run.
Talking about his reasonings for embarking on such a difficult challenge, the father-of-three said “The NHS has kept me alive” and he wished to “give something back” because of it. Referring to the treatment he received for an inoperable brain tumour diagnosed in 2013, which left him paralysed from the waist down.
Reflecting back on the experience of doing it, he stated "I'm relieved it's over if I'm honest." Towards finishing the last few days, Simon was experiencing neuropathic pain, but was adamant in overcoming the “tough” obstacles and ended up “very happy” having completed it.
All proceeds will be going towards the Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals Charity as part of a donation to help the children’s operating theatre and intensive care unit.
Not even the weather stopped Kindleysides, when it snowed he said "The most exciting part of the task was walking in snow. I hadn't walked in snow for 10 years. When I went out into the snow I was leaving footprints and not wheelchair tyre tracks. It was amazing."
As dangerous as it was he continued with "Going out in snow and ice was scary because I was on my own and have never fallen over in the suit before so did not know what would happen if I slipped over. The snow was pretty bad for a while so I couldn't take a week off."
Even after overcoming such difficulties, the enthusiastic hero already has his eyes on the next challenge where he plans to climb 58 floors of a London skyscraper.