A MAN from Kildrum is intent on becoming the first deafblind person to complete the Three Peaks Challenge.
Stephen Joyce (41), is currently training to climb the tallest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in a single day With the assistance of a team of army officers.
He will attempt the gruelling challenge on the weekend of September 6.
Stephen was born with a genetic condition which means he has been profoundly deaf since birth and was also registered blind as an adult. He will climb a total of 11,169 feet with only limited vision and will communuicate with his team through a tactile form of sign language.
The army officers, all experienced long distance runners, have been recruited for the challenge by Captain John Vance of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
Stephen said: “Captain Vance offered me this opportunity through a mutual friend and I thought it sounded like an amazing challenge. It will be hard as I am not used to hill running and this will be my first time doing something like this. I have ran in other road events but nothing like this.”
Locals may have seen Stephen preparing for this challenge as he has done a lot of running in the woodlands around the Cumbernauld area.
He added: “I want people to realise that no matter if you lose your sight and hearing you can still achieve what you or others may think is impossible.”
Captain John Vance added: “The team and I are really excited about supporting Stephen on the ‘Deafblind3peaks’ Challenge.
“All the officers are fit and experienced runners so hopefully we will be a good support team for him. When I met Stephen a few months ago I was blown away with his ambition and motivation to not let his impairments get in the way of taking on such a hard task.
“The actual run itself is pretty daunting but the team are more wary of the fact we must constantly concentrate on Stephen’s well-being and ensure the path ahead does not pose any problems for him.”
The money raised by the challenge will help the charity Deafblind Scotland. Head of fundraising Alison Hardie said: “I am really taken aback by the size of the challenge in front of Stephen and this fantastic team of soldiers.
“For Stephen to run the Three Peaks with no hearing and very little sight is incredible.”
To learn more or pledge your support visit www.justgiving.com/deafblind3peaks