Paralysed man to walk 112 miles in exoskeleton suit to raise funds for NHS

Sam Russell, PA

A man who is paralysed from the waist down is walking 112 miles with the help of an exoskeleton suit to raise funds for the NHS.

Simon Kindleysides, 36, who lives in Blofield near Norwich, will walk four miles every day in February – the maximum distance his suit can cover before its batteries need recharging.

The father-of-three, whose life changed in 2013 following a brain tumour and functional neurological disorder, completed the London Marathon in 2018 in a robotic suit he had been loaned.

A mystery benefactor bought him one of the £100,000 suits after seeing his marathon effort on TV.

Mr Kindleysides said he embarked on his latest challenge as he wanted to “give something back” to the NHS.

“The NHS has kept me alive,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the NHS I wouldn’t be here now.”

When Mr Kindleysides completed the marathon, he set a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in a robotic walking device – 36 hours and 46 minutes, which included 27 hours and 32 minutes of walking.

“With the marathon itself, it’s consecutively walking and I only got to sit down every four miles to change the batteries, that’s the only time I got to rest,” he said.

“After I’d done it I didn’t have pain really until a couple of days later, I just felt like I’d been hit by a bus, or I’d been in the gym for about a year.

“The trouble with this one is because it’s four miles every day for 28 days, once I’ve done it and I’m eating and stuff, the thought of having to squeeze myself back into that ReWalk suit and then do another four miles – I just have to get over the pain and do it again and again.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

Mr Kindleysides said he hopes funds raised can help pay for oxygen supplies during the Covid-19 crisis.

He went on: “What I tell myself is that every step that I take is another breath to keep someone alive and there’s always someone worse off than me.”

Funds will go to help his local NHS hospital in Norwich, with more than £4,000 raised so far.

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