"That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done"
Steve completes his ten-Marathon walk for Blood Pressure UK after losing his sight to high blood pressure
Steve Rebus lost his sight at the age of just 24 due to high blood pressure, and he’s just walked 266 miles to raise awareness for Blood Pressure UK.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done”, said Steve Rebus, who has just walked over 20,000 steps a day throughout advent for Blood Pressure UK, raising over £1,300. He faced freezing temperatures, torrential rain, broken apps and ruined shoes all to raise awareness and funds to beat high blood pressure.
“I decided it was time to get off the side lines again” he told us, having previously taken on the gruelling Tough Mudder challenge to raise money for World Cancer Research Fund. (Brilliantly, he’s also dressed up as a banana.) But 20,000 steps a day was a little further than he imagined.
“That’s 251 miles, which is the same as walking to Derby (my hometown) and back again! So, I walked the ‘Epsom Derby’. I only realised how far that was after I started fundraising. I thought, ‘well, I’ve done it now!’” When he crossed the finish line on Christmas Eve, he’d clocked up 266 miles, more than ten Marathons.
Steve lost his sight in 2000 due to two brain haemorrhages (bleeding in the brain) caused by high blood pressure. “I was repairing cars in a body shop when I realised I couldn’t read a number plate. I didn’t think much of it but then the headaches started and eventually I couldn’t make it up the stairs. One morning I woke up and could barely move. My blood pressure in hospital was 280/220mmHg.” The bleeding damaged his optic nerve and knocked out his central vision, leaving him with only blurry peripheral vision.
He’s been on blood pressure medicines ever since, and learning to take care of his health has been a life-long journey. “When you lose your sight, you lose everything you can do. You can’t even make a cup of tea. I went from playing football and going to the gym to not able to exercise.”
He’s since learned about the right balance of nutrients for his body, watching the calories (“they sneak them into everything”) and how to exercise safely. He recently received his 60lb weight loss badge from FitBit, a wrist band he uses to track how far he’s walked, and his doctors have lowered the dose of his medicines.
“When you exercise, you feel happier because of the release of endorphins. Then those around you feel happier too.”
Steve wanted to raise awareness of high blood pressure no matter what your age. “I wouldn’t wish the consequences on anyone. It’s so easy to get a blood pressure check and know your numbers, just go to the chemist or get a home monitor, then you can relax.”
He says he’s filled with “ineffable joy” when he thinks of what he’s achieved and the support he’s had from his wife Sarah and many friends and onlookers. “If I can inspire one person to get out and get active it’s worth it. I hope someone will think, ‘if he can do it, I can do it.’”
We are incredibly grateful to Steve for his extraordinary efforts. You can still make a donation to support Steve at justgiving.com
Read Steve’s blog
Steve kept us updated woth his progress every day with his brilliant blog, Fitblitz. He encountered sore muscles, an app crash, torrential rain, unsurpassable muddy puddles, getting lost, then making it home to some high protein pizza.