Charity Tuesday: Martin is set for 10km a day for The Fire Fighters Charity
Martin Chester, ICT Service Delivery Manager at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, couldn't walk a matter of weeks ago. But now he is covering 10km a day to thank The Fire Fighters Charity for helping him over the past seven months.
When he joined Essex County Fire and Rescue Service as an ICT Service Delivery Manager three-and-a-half years ago , he was relatively fit. A colleague introduced him to running and they used to go at lunchtimes.
However, an arterial condition preventing blood flow to his legs, which he had been diagnosed with a few years ago, was getting worse and he was left in constant pain.
He ran the Colchester Half Marathon in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity in 2 hours 20 minutes in March last year, raising more than £300, but it was his last run. His symptoms had become too painful.
In November last year, he had an operation on his right leg, but he suffered a complication and had to have more surgery. At the end of December he attended Marine Court in Littlehampton, The Fire Fighters Charity rehabilitation centre.
He said: "I was using crutches and, because the changes my body had been through and the fact I couldn't exercise, I was suffering mentally.
"By the end of my week's stay I was walking unaided. The charity provided me with supervised exercises and also offered mental health counselling.
"The charity invited me back at the end of January for another week of specific exercise and therapy both physical and mental.
"By the end of the second week I was in much better shape although we discovered that my original symptoms had returned."
Martin returned home and had more tests, attending Colchester Hospital in June for another procedure. His symptoms have improved and he is exercising again.
In fact, he is covering 10km every day in July, on a cross trainer or walking, to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity.
Martin said: "I have been in regular contact with The Fire Fighters Charity throughout, even during lockdown they have stayed in touch and provided support.
"The charity is there for all of us, and our families. They are such a great organisation; they listen and tailor individual treatment and really care about the wellbeing of all fire service personnel; without them I wouldn’t be in the position that I am now."
"I would encourage others to set up a regular contribution to The Fire Fighters Charity; I contribute monthly and will continue to carry out fundraising events as long as my fitness will allow me."
The Fire Fighters Charity's revenue has dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic with income from fundraising, recycling and shop sales falling.
The cancellation of fundraising events means that the charity is facing a shortfall that equates to about £200,000 a month.
To donate to Martin's fundraising cause, visit his JustGiving page.
Page last updated 21 July, 2020