To celebrate MS Awareness Week (19-25 April 2021), Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is taking the opportunity to highlight the achievements of a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patient who has impressed us all with his determined fundraising efforts.
Nigel Hughes from Barry has been with Cardiff and Vale UHB’s Neurology department since his diagnosis in 2012.
Nigel had a 30-year career as a South Wales Police Officer and was a keen rugby player. He challenged himself to walk a mile to raise funds for charity during the lockdown of summer 2020.
At the time Nigel was undergoing treatment for kidney stones and was in considerable pain. Nigel also has type 2 diabetes and has recovered from prostate cancer. Due to his condition, it took momentous willpower for him to complete the one-mile walk in 99 days.
To date, Nigel has raised more than £10,300 for Woody’s Lodge (www.woodyslodge.org), a charity supporting armed forces veterans, emergency services and NHS employees past and present, and their families.
“When he started the fundraiser, we were aiming to raise £1,000, but we reached that goal very quickly so it went to £3,000, then £5,000 then £10,000,” said Karen, Nigel’s wife and carer. “The fundraising page is still going and the target is now £20,000.”
Karen filmed Nigel’s daily walks so that people could follow his progress. The couple were amazed and heartened by the encouragement they received. “We had lots of support from the South Wales Police and The Rifles (Gloucester), who gave him a guard of honour for his final walk,” says Karen. “We also had support from many of the veterans who go to Woody’s Lodge. An MS charity in America donated and sent messages of thanks for inspiring them.”
For Nigel, the fundraising provided motivation to keep being active, despite his physical difficulties. Nigel is almost completely wheelchair-bound now so walking just a few steps takes a lot of energy. “He walked from one end of our patio to the other each day with the support of a stick and a helping hand,” says Karen.
The challenge also provided Nigel with a chance to raise awareness about MS.
His amazing achievement has been recognised with an Openreach Community Connectors Award, nominated by his MP Rt Hon Alun Cairns, Member of Parliament for Vale of Glamorgan.
Dr Emma Tallantyre, Neurology Consultant, met Nigel at the weekly MS clinics she runs at the University Hospital of Wales. She said: “Nigel’s Walk A Mile campaign was such a positive venture, and a reminder of how important it is to keep moving. Nigel has faced significant health difficulties in the last few years and yet his determination and enthusiasm continue to be a huge inspiration to me and many others. We are delighted to celebrate his success with him. Well done, Nigel!”
The fundraising page is: https://bit.ly/3clUyUD