Posted June 1, 2022 by Steph
Five years ago, aged just 54, Kevin Kerr, a logistics operative from Carlisle, suffered a near fatal haemorrhagic stroke. Against the odds, he survived but the damage it caused to his body was catastrophic, and he lost all use of the left side of his body.
Now unable to use his left arm at all, and only through a massive amount of physiotherapy and support, he can only use his left leg to walk for about 20 metres or so before needing rest. Prior to the stroke, he worked in a physical job in warehousing and logistics and played guitar in a rock band. Changes to his body left him unable to do any of these things and he began suffering from depression, particularly as during Covid 19 lockdown his lifeline of volunteering at an animal rescue centre was shut down.
Kevin and his wife Kathryn bought a dog, Poppy, to help give him companionship and they began visiting Watchtree Nature Reserve, to socialise her and take her for walks. Kevin was using a mobility scooter but was keen to try an adapted trike from Watchtree Wheelers to improve his fitness and mental health. He now has his own specially adapted trike for use with his hemiplegia and travels around the reserve with a group of friends, ‘The Watchtree Bird Feeders’, refilling the reserve’s bird feeders and meeting up in Watchtree’s Café several times a week.
Although Kevin is able to travel round the reserve on the trike, he has never actually walked around it and as a new personal challenge, he has decided to attempt to walk the full perimeter route of the reserve, starting on 8th June 2022. At 2 miles, this is a huge task for Kevin and he anticipates it may take him up to 6 weeks to complete the circuit – stopping and rejoining again where he finished the previous stint. He aims to complete the circuit by his 59th birthday, on the 12th July 2022.
Kevin said: “I know this is going to be a tough challenge – currently I can only manage 20 metres at a time before needing to rest, but I’m hoping my strength and fitness will increase over the course of the six weeks. It would also be fantastic to raise money for Watchtree at the same time – a place that has helped me so much, both physically and mentally.
Watchtree Nature Reserve Manager Ryan Dobson said: “It has been fantastic to see the progress Kevin has made in his recovery and we are proud that Watchtree has played such a large part in helping him, both from a social aspect and also the accessibility of the reserve in giving him freedom to help as a volunteer. We are honoured that Kevin has chosen this challenge to benefit Watchtree and we will support him every step of the way.”
To sponsor Kevin and his Watchtree Circuit challenge, please visit his fundraising page https://watchtree.enthuse.com/cf/kevins-watchtree-walk
Watchtree Nature Reserve is a registered charity with a mission to provide a nature reserve haven for a wide range of habitats and species. It is a community asset for people to enjoy, appreciate and be educated in the values of living with wildlife and nature. Watchtree Wheelers offer specialist cycle facilities, equipment and training for the public and group use boasting a range of adapted equipment for disabled riders as well as cycle skills training for new riders of all abilities.
Media contact: Stephanie Norman 01228 712539; 07739 315 291; firstname.lastname@example.org