BRAVE Graeme Scott is set to tackle some of the UK’s toughest mountains despite having multiple sclerosis.
Aged just 26, Mr Scott was diagnosed with the neuro- logical condition, which can leave sufferers fatigued and facing problems with their walking and vision, in 2007.
The prospect of facing a life stuck in a wheelchair left him severely depressed and missing the great outdoors.
Now, however, with the help of a dozen friends and a specially-adapted wheelchair, he will take on one of the UK’s toughest challenges.
The 31-year-old will begin the Three Peaks Challenge next Saturday, aiming to climb the highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland. Groups normally tackle the challenge in 24 hours, but Mr Scott and his friends are aiming to do it in 36.
Mr Scott, who works at Blacks outdoor shop in St Aldate’s, said: “Before my diagnosis, walking was a massive part of my life, I just loved being outdoors.
“Every single holiday and weekend was spent up on a hill or in woodland.
“I had plans to train for serious mountaineering, with hopes of going as far as climbing K2. But then in 2007 I was diagnosed with MS.”
Mr Scott, who lives in Witney, added: “It took me a long time and two or three relapses, which put me in the wheelchair, to come to terms with it.
“That sent me into quite deep depression. I always used to be outdoors and now I’m not. And I miss it.”
A number of relapses over the years left Mr Scott only able to walk short distances and confined to a wheelchair most of the time. He said: “This chair has difficulty making it over a grassy verge let alone a field, so the idea of going anywhere I used to love seemed out of the question.”
But an idea to turn his life around came on a recent visit to the pub with friends.
He said: “It started as a bit of a joke. We were talking about how much an all-terrain wheelchair would help me and someone mentioned the Three Peaks Challenge.
“Then the idea just stuck.”
So next week, a dozen friends and colleagues will “push, pull, drag, roll, haul and carry” Mr Scott to the top of Scotland’s Ben Nevis, England’s Scafell Pike and Snowdon in Wales.
The idea is to raise £4,000 to buy an all-terrain wheelchair, which would allow him to get back some of the freedom he lost.
He said: “It would give me back a huge amount of my life. It will get me outdoors doing what I love doing. And that means everything to me.”
l To sponsor Mr Scott and friends, visit the Blacks store in St Aldate’s or call 01865 727632