When Steve Roberts decided to trail the Pembrokeshire Coastal path in both directions after being diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis,his initial aim was to raise £1,000.
This week, after completing the gruelling 370-mile challenge over an incredible 25 days, the total sum raised stands at just over £12,500.
And as a result of the community support which his walk has generated, that sum continues to rise.
“It’s been an absolutely incredible experience,” Steve commented from his home in Mastlebridge near Neyland after completing the trek earlier last week.
“So many people decided to join me on sections of the walk and I’ve been blown away by the support that they’ve shown. And even though I’ve now finished the walk, the money continues to pour in.”
Last Sunday (February 19), the Honeyborough Garden Centre tea room hosted a fund-raising breakfast morning which resulted in an additional £900 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society while local rugby legend Gus Dudridge is currently staging a ‘Dry February’ challenge at The Foresters pub in Neyland.
Steve, who works offshore and is a former Neyland rugby player, first suspected that things weren’t right when he began feeling pins and needles in his thumb and forefinger in 2022. He chose to ignore the symptoms for some five months, but when he began experiencing pain in his neck and shoulder, he decided to seek medical advice.
“They initially thought it was wear and tear as I’ve always been pretty active, playing rugby for Neyland until an arm injury last year, running and cycling, but then the neuro-radiologist at Morriston Hospital found a small lesion on my spinal cord,” he explains.
Further scans revealed more lesions on Steve’s brain which eventually confirmed the diagnosis of MS.
“When I started telling my friends, they couldn’t believe it, as people always assume it’s something that old people get,” says Steve, who’s 43. “But this simply isn’t the case.
“Most people find out when they’re only in their 20s or 30s.
“Obviously it’s been a big shock to me, but even though it isn’t a curable disease, it’s largely manageable. And the prognosis in 2023 is a lot better than it would have been a few years ago.”
To help raise awareness of the illness and also raise funds for on-going MS research, Steve completed the Pembrokeshire coast path twice, travelling once in each direction.
“The support I’ve had has been absolutely amazing, not just from the medical teams but from the people around me here in Neyland,” he said.
“My JustGiving page has already raised over £12,500 which says so much about people’s generosity.
“If I can do just a little bit to support Multiple Sclerosis sufferers like myself, then that’s what it’s all about.”
Steve’s JustGiving page can be visited here.