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One step at a time

10 peaks challenge chris robinson with his dog on top of bennachie

When Chris Robinson, 40, suffered a stroke, he was left unable to walk or swallow food. Now, less than two years on, he’s climbing 10 peaks across Scotland in ten months, to raise £10k for charity!

Chris Robinson’s life changed forever on the 7th November 2018. At the age of 40 he suffered a stroke. A busy business owner, he initially put his symptoms down to tiredness and stress. But he soon found it difficult to walk and felt numbness down his right-hand side.

A sneeze caused my stroke

Later, Chris was advised by doctors that he had split a vein in his head; his stroke could have been caused by anything from a cough to a violent sneeze.

After being admitted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, he began coughing up blood and then stopped breathing. Thankfully, by the next day some of his symptoms had begun to improve. He had, however, completely forgotten how to walk, and was unable to swallow food.

Chris recalls: “The doctors and nurses said it would be a long time before I would be able to walk again. This is something I really didn’t want to hear.

“For those who know me, it’s no surprise that I can be a little stubborn. So I wasn’t going to let this beat me. After three days of physio, I took my first step.”

Determined to push himself further and further, in just one week Chris went from being unable to walk across his hospital room to walking a 500m circuit of the ward.

10 peaks challenge chris

10 Peaks Challenge: Chris Robinson celebrates a successful first climb at Bennachie with fundraiser Oliver Middleton from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

Determined to get back to walking

Since leaving the hospital, Chris has put all his energy into getting better and didn’t spend time dwelling on what might happen if he didn’t recover.

“Going from walking one day to not being able to the next was a massive change for me but, to be honest, I never stopped to focus too much on what I couldn’t do. I was overcome with determination to get back to walking.”

This year, Chris is challenging himself to climb 10 of Scotland’s most iconic peaks over ten months, with the aim to raise £10,000 for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. The challenge will come to an end in November when Chris attempts to climb 1344m to the peak of Ben Nevis, marking exactly two years since he suffered his stroke.

He says: “With walking being the one thing that was most affected by my stroke, I wanted to create a challenge which encompassed walking. I have spent the past year learning to walk again, but I am still only at 80%. Although I can walk, I constantly have to think about every movement.”

Tackling the 10 peaks challenge

Having already successfully scaled Bennachie and Clachnaben, Chris is planning to climb eight more peaks between now and November. With each of the 10 peaks getting progressively higher, it’s no easy task. But it's one Chris is determined to complete with your support.

The moral of this story is don’t give up. If you are determined to achieve something, do what you can to get there, one step at a time.

Unfortunately due to the outbreak of coronavirus, Chris is having to put his next couple of climbs on hold until it is safe to get out and about again. But, he's not giving up.

"The challenge so far has been an experience. I have found the climbing part quite exhausting, but coming down the hills has been a lot easier. However the following days have been more difficult with feeling more fatigued for about a week.

"The plans for the coming months will need to be changed and advice taken on the current situation of not being able to travel. But this doesn't mean this is the end; it is likely going to extend the challenge in to next year. If we come out of lockdown earlier rather than later, then I will be able to catch up by doing more than one peak each month."

To support Chris and donate to his 10 peaks fundraising challenge, please visit www.justgiving.com/10peaksin10months

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