An ex police officer who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis has set himself a challenge to walk 1,609 metres for a local charity.
Nigel Hughes, from Rhoose, had lived an active life as a policeman for South Wales Police before being diagnosed with MS in 2012 - a lifelong condition which affects the brain and nerves.
Nigel’s wife, Karen, said: “He had symptoms at least ten years before he was diagnosed - like pins and needles and tingling in his left fingers - but because he was riding the police motorbikes we were told it was a repetitive strain or a trapped nerve.
“But then he started to have speech problems and his eyesight started to be affected.
"We knew something wasn't right.”
After his diagnosis, Nigel’s symptoms became progressively worse and the simple things – like walking and talking – became more of a struggle.
“If he walked up a hill, he would trip over and on sand or pebbles – he just couldn’t walk very well.”
Despite his condition, Nigel continued to work – although he had retired from the frontline police force – until he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2017.
After what Karen described as a pretty “traumatic” year for the family, Nigel turned to Woody’s Lodge for support.
The charity describes themselves as a ‘social hub’ for those who have served in both the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, where they can receive expert support and connect with other people in similar situations.
“We panicked and thought we’d no longer be able to go out anymore, but Woody’s Lodge has become a godsend for Nigel.
“It’s a place he can go to for a coffee and a chat and not feel like he’s the disabled person.”
Nigel beat the cancer and after seeing Woody’s Lodge challenge people to walk 100 miles in May, he decided to set his own personal goal of walking one mile.
“We knew there was no way Nigel could do 100 miles, so I suggested he tried just one mile and did a little bit every day.
“It’s given Nigel something to focus on and made him feel good about himself again.”
Originally, the ex-policeman aimed to raise £1,000, but with just one month to go until he’s set to reach the finish-line, he’s managed to raise almost £6,000.
But it’s not just about raising money for Nigel, he wanted to help others in similar circumstances too.
"Looking at Nigel doing this has helped other people with MS think they can do a little bit more every day.”