The owner of a racing stud who was told he would never walk again after he broke his back during a violent burglary is to walk the London Marathon.
Steven Smith, of Hunscote Stud, Warwickshire, was attacked at his holiday home in southern France in 2011, by armed men who had broken into the building.
In an attempt to escape, Mr Smith jumped out of a first-floor window.
He fell into a ravine, suffering a crushed spine, as well as a broken leg and arm, a dislocated shoulder and facial injuries.
Mr Smith “stunned doctors” with the extent of his recovery and is now able to walk with the aid of a stick.
Now he plans to complete the London Marathon (23 April) in 14 hours, in aid of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (nsif).
A spokesman for nsif said Mr Smith still experiences a number of complications as a result of his injury and that completing the challenge in the set time would be an “incredible feat”, given his difficulty in moving and the pain he will suffer.
“After my injury in 2011 my legs often feel extremely heavy – they feel like they are made of lead,” Mr Smith said.
“I won’t be training too much, as I don’t want to aggravate the injury. I think I’ve only got one marathon in me and I don’t want to run out of steam too early!”
Charity CEO Mike Milner said the London Marathon is an “enormous challenge” for anyone.
“But to undertake a challenge of this scale when every step is a struggle will really push Steven to his limits,” he added.
“Steven has shown incredible mental and physical strength in his attempt to recover from his injury. Many people don’t realise the extent of the complications that a spinal cord injury can cause; it is a life-long battle for good health due to the hidden effects of the injury.
“We believe in a future where there will be a cure for spinal injury and we are enormously grateful to Steven taking on this epic challenge”.
Mr Smith aims to raise £250,000 through his fundraising page.
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He said: “Back in August 2011, the news was devastating for me and those close to me. I improved a lot more than the doctors ever expected, but millions of others have had to face the life-long reality of total paralysis. I am one of the lucky ones.
“Spinal cord injury is a life-changing condition and before this research there was no hope of a cure in sight. Medical research in this area is expensive, so I have set myself a high target. Your support will give so many people back their independence and a better quality of life.”