in Mark FitzGerald's words (ex TT Racer)...
Just as background, I got talking to Stuart via Twitter when the @whyarai people suggested he was worth following & I got curious.
Although we haven't met in person we are forever abusing each other in twitter, email & phone calls - he seems like such a genuinely nice person with an incredible story & could use all the support he can get, whether that be advertising, sponsorship, or cold hard cash. He has, if I want to which I probably will, invited me to be a member of his team in his attempt, I will explain as this continues.
Stuart is 38 & lives in Scotland, he is 100% blind (great support from the RNIB with his computer software) & is paralised in his right hand side but he wasn't always this way. When he was 28 he was out riding his motorbike then he was T-boned by a car. In his words, he went over the bonnet backwards with his feet through the windscreen & his head through the sunroof. He broke his back in three places, ribs & shoulder.
While he was in hospital he was told he would not walk again but within 18 months had gone from not walking, to crutches, to sticks, to one stick to eventually walking again & was back on a bike 2 1/2 years later. He did a bit of racing in Scotland & I believe he did the Southern 100 in 99 or 2000 on a 600, although I can't find this in the results although he says he finished but not high up the order.
By this time he was 31-ish & took a fall at home & hit his head off a table. The fall pinched a nerve in his back which was not repairable & left him paralised in his right leg. This left him in a lot of pain daily & his medication was increased to what we might call stupid amounts of pills.
In the autumn of 2007 he started having fits & on his way into hospital in the ambulance had a fit that lasted an hour which when he came out of it had completely paralised his right hand side except for a slight movement in his right arm but nothing major. The doctor who was treating him initially thought he was a junkie given the fact he is 6 foot 4, tatooed & has wild hair! He was in hospital for a further 5 months & about 2 weeks before he was due to go home he had another fit, this one lasted over 2 hours & when he came out of it he was 100% blind.
No light, no shadows, just complete dark.
Dunno about you, I think I would have curled up & died by now but it seems you can't keep this fella down.
His plan is now to try to brake land speed record for a 100% blind rider (add to that disabled) of 164mph. He doesn't yet have a set date for this, it really will be as things fall into place & obviously on a day where pain allows him too.
Quite difficult I am sure you will agree but he is getting more & more followers in twitter @rippleracing is his twitter name. The venues he would like to consider are Bruntinthorpe or the runway at Top Gear Track (if anyone has a contact for Mr Clarkson/Hammond/May please let me know) but obviously this has to be somewhere open without anything to hit, just in case anything goes wrong….it won’t!
I mentioned me joining his team earlier. Other than trying to help him in whatever small way I can by doing things like this, he has also asked me (along with some of his personal friends & his dad) to act as outriders when he makes his attempt all with communications to him to he can be advised if he is going off line, needs to go faster or needs to stop, preferably before he runs out of road he has asked!
He intends at this time to raise money for RNIB, Diabetes Scotl& (owing to the risk of going blind from it) & Riders for Health & I have suggested (which he was in agreement with) an IOM based fund assuming we can get some help from the Isle of Man, be it the Riders Ben Fund, Helicopter Fund or Joey Dunlop Foundation.....to be fair I have used two of those three myself!
As I mentioned to you earlier, even if all the people who visited the IOM for TT/MGP could give a pound that would still be a tidy penny for all of the charities. He would dearly love to go to the Isl& but with two carers this would prove difficult & expensive but we are contacting the Joey Dunlop Foundation to see how to go about this.
Any advice/help, anything at all to be honest would be gratefully received. The more people we can get behind this the money he can raise for charity whilst also getting his name in the record books.
I know what a generous bunch bikers are & if we can put something back into the great services supplied by the mentioned charities then I reckon everyone st&s to win.
Regards, Mark FitzGerald.