Imagine walking across a windy airfield knowing that in a few minutes you will be strapped to the wing of an aeroplane, speeding and climbing through the air at up to 130 miles per hour.
Now imagine taking on the same challenge without vision, with weakness in your right arm and struggling daily with profound cognitive disability.
On Sunday 16th September, Keith Lauder will take on that very challenge and all to support a local charity that continues to support him, Headway Nottingham.
After sustaining his brain injury in a motorcycle accident 33 years ago, Keith continues to experience residual profound disabilities because of his accident, not least almost total sight loss, but that doesn’t stop him taking on breathtaking feats, including tandem cycling across France, riding an Ostrich in South Africa and driving a BMW around Brands Hatch.
But he’ll conquer his biggest challenge this September, along with his nephew Anthony Longman, by completing an aeroplane wing walk at 500ft.
Asked why he’s taking on his epic challenge, Keith explained:
“I want to do it because every 90 seconds someone in the UK is admitted to hospital because of a brain injury.
“There’s so many people like me out there who will need help from Headway Nottingham now and in the future, and I want to make sure they are alive and kicking for years to come.
“People ask me if I’m scared and feel like I’m in the dark, but I don’t. Without Headway I would be sitting at home, listening to my stories and bored. That’s why I’m raising money for them.”
Headway Nottingham’s services manager, Charlotte Leask, said: “Keith is a real inspiration to all of us here at the centre and we’re so grateful that he and Anthony are taking on a wing walk to raise much-needed funds for us.
“We believe that no-one should live a life that is defined by disability and that with the right support people struggling with profound physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as behavioural problems, can achieve for themselves and feel hopeful for the future.
“Every penny that Keith and Anthony raise will help us make sure we continue to rehabilitate and support with complex disabilities, who without our help often struggle to play a part in their communities or achieve to their potential.
“It’s so important that we have the support of our community because brain injury could happen to any of us at any time.
“Keith and Anthony’s support will leave an important legacy for Nottingham and we’re so excited to be part of their amazing achievement. They’re so brave.”
Headway Nottingham uses varied rehabilitative workshops including Therapeutic Art, Dramatherapy and Literacy and Numeracy classes to support its’ members to rebuild vital life skills.
Many members have physical disabilities meaning they rely on wheelchairs or walkers to make small movements, but all struggle daily with ‘invisible disabilities’ that can affect how they talk, think, understand and plan, whilst impacting on confidence and behaviour.
The local charity hopes that Keith and Anthony’s epic challenge will also raise awareness throughout the Nottingham community, to help them reach our to even more of the 3,500 who sustain head injuries each year in the county alone.