The 34-year-old from Stourbridge in the West Midlands saw his life changed forever when he lost both his arms and legs to meningitis at just 18.
But now he’s thanking those who helped him when he first became ill and donated to a fund set up to support him by doing his own fundraising.
Speaking to the Stourbridge News, he said: “I always said when people were fundraising for me at the beginning if I ever got back to where I could actually do something – I would. And I just like having little challenges for myself.”
‘Bionic Bob’, as he’s referring to himself these days, spent four months in hospital after falling ill in August 2000. At first he thought it was a cold or the flu, but after collapsing at home he was rushed to hospital, where doctors had to amputate his limbs to save his life. He also lost part of his nose and lip but has recently been undergoing reconstructive surgery for this.
Robert’s walk will take place on Sunday 17 July. He’s yet to finalise the route but it will start from the Geoff Hill Electrical Superstore in Amblecote, where he used to work. Geoff was instrumental in setting up Robert’s fund and has already supported him for his planned walk. He’s also a big supporter of the Mary Stevens Hospice, the other charity to benefit from Robert’s challenge.
Robert added: “Hopefully I’ll get some of my old mates from Geoff Hill’s involved and it would be good to rope some other people in too.”
Hoping for a typical British summer’s day
“I should make it round hopefully. The most I’ve walked is about 7K and that was quite tiring at the end. On a cool day I’m a bit better – hopefully we’ll have a typical British summer and it won’t be too hot!”
He’s preparing for the walk by upping the distance he goes each day and is hoping to raise £1,000 from the challenge, to be split equally between us and the hospice.
But don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge facing Robert – being a double amputee means it takes him a lot more energy to cover the ground than it does for the likes of you and me – 300% more than for a non-amputee (if you want to explore why this is there’s a fascinating article here.
Leah Wynn, our Community Fundraiser, said: “What a brilliant and brave thing for Robert to take on – this will be an amazing achievement but I know he’s really determined to make it. We wish him, and everyone walking with him, well with this challenge.”