Steve’s on a Mission for Man V Fat Despite Health Challenges
Many people, when faced with a debilitating neurological condition that makes exercising a challenge, might decide to give up physical activity completely. But not Steve Watkins, former coach with CITY Community Trust’s innovative Man V Fat programme, who has decided he wants to give something back to the organisation which helped to change his life.
Man V Fat is an FA-endorsed football league which supports men with weight loss and their mental health. Men who want to lose weight take part in a football league where they play games and score points from those games. They also receive support and nutritional advice and, crucially, score points for their weight loss.
Steve, 49, was overweight and had been diagnosed as pre-diabetic when he first joined Man V Fat in 2018. He went on to lose more than five stone and became one of the group’s coaches, helping other men on the way to weight loss success.
A Challenging Year
Unfortunately, since then, Steve has developed a condition which means he can no longer play football. But determined to help others, he has set out on a campaign to raise enough funds to pay for a place for a participant in the Man V Fat League by walking and running a marathon distance during March.
Steve said: “The last year has been a challenging one for me regarding my health and in order to aid my recovery, I have decided that in the month of March, I will walk/jog/run the same distance as a marathon.
“Normally, this wouldn’t seem much of a challenge. However, in October I was struggling to perform basic daily tasks, even getting up and down stairs was extremely difficult. This was the result of a neurological illness which caused multiple areas of my body to experience muscle spasms. The spasms affected my sleep, were unpredictable and random. Following an MRI of my brain and spine to investigate possible MS, it was discovered I have severe arthritis in the neck, a compressed spinal cord and impinged nerve roots. I have played football in some capacity for over 40 years, it really hurt being told I shouldn’t play again.
He added: “Whereas the frequency of the spasms has lessened, I am now at the stage where almost six months of inactivity has resulted in decreased levels of fitness and physical stamina. Under the guidance of a physiotherapist and a chiropractor, I now need to start building those levels back up.
“Exeter City Community Trust has been a huge part of my life for around five years now. Having been a part of the Man V Fat initiative and seen the difference it has made to mine and so many others health, you come to realise how much vital work this group of dedicated individuals actually does.”
Steve said he had been grateful to the support he had received from CITY Community Trust, even during lockdown when sessions had to be halted.
He said: “Pete Ferlie of CITY Community Trust has been in touch with me regularly, checking up on how I am as well as the people and teammates I have got to know so well through Man V Fat. Combine that level of support with that of my family, friends and colleagues, makes me feel truly blessed – I cannot thank them all enough.”
Pete Ferlie, health and wellbeing officer at CITY Community Trust, said: “We are truly grateful to Steve for taking on this challenge. He has been on such a journey with us and it reflects his generosity of spirit that he would do something like this to help other people.”
Steve, who lives in Zeal Monachorum was a NAAFI manager for the Royal Navy and served alongside the Royal Marines, 4th Assault Squadron on HMS Fearless and then I was NAAFI Manager to the Captain 5th Destroyer Squadron on HMS Cardiff.
He has already hit his target of £300 – enough to fund a place for a participant of Man V Fat and he wants to continue to do more.
And his fundraising efforts have been matched by Man V Fat who have matched Steve’s fundraising by offering an additional complimentary place for a player. The Man V Fat Benevolent Fund also donated to help Steve reach his target.
To contribute to Steve’s fundraising visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=StephenWatkins&pageUrl=4
For more information about Man V Fat, visit https://exetercct.org/courses-events/man-v-fat-exeter/