A sight-impaired Hereford man has signed up for the Duchenne Research Relay

Male in cycling vest
  • Determined to give his sons a good example of what a ‘normal’ body looks like gave Mike Stuffins the motivation, ten years ago, to commit to HIIT workouts that led to endurance activities
  • He dramatically changed his attitude to comfort eating and through fitness training reduced his waist from 42ins to 32ins.
  • But now, taking part in The Duchenne Research Relay is particularly challenging for Mike because this June he was given a diagnosis of being severely-sight-impaired.

Mike 39, a financial controller, is to join his friend Sam Taylor’s Duchenne Research Relay ride between the UK’s four neuromuscular centres from 12 – 14 August. Mike, married with two sons and two daughters, has completely managed his weight challenges, only to be registered as severely sight impaired.

Undaunted, he is committed to taking part in the Duchenne Research Relay. 

Starting in London, they will cycle in 12 -13 hour days from Great Ormond Street in London to the MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre and then to Alder Hey Hospital near Liverpool, before finishing at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

  • The Duchenne Research Relay has been organised to fundraise for Sam’s son, 12-year-old Will, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, to fundraise for (MDUK).
  • Will Taylor was diagnosed when he was four- years- old.
  • Sam Taylor’s network has already raised over £100,000 for the charity

For anyone wanting to support this event, there is a Virtual Duchenne Research Relay for people to do in their own time. Read about it and register here.

Mike said:

For most of my life I used food as a crutch, until 2010 when I made a decision to change the way I approached food and fitness. I increased my exercise steadily until 2018 when I took part in my first half marathon. 

That was when Mike was re-acquainted with Sam Taylor who invited him to take part in their 2019 fundraising event, the Longest Steepest Deepest Highest Quadrathlon for the ‘Where there’s a Will there’s a Way,’ challenge.

Another friend then challenged me to sign up to an Ironman, they knew I had always wanted to do one but never felt physically able to. Within the space of a month I signed up to Ironman Wales 2019 and the Quad event. Embarking on the training for these two events saw me lose yet more weight and I am now a 32” waist.

In August 2019 we completed the Quad, a one mile swim in Lake Windermere, a canoe the length of Lake Windermere, a cycle from Windermere to Wast Water over Wrynose and Hardknott Pass and the following day a walk/run over the shoulder of Scafell Pike (weather restricted the height we could go to). In early September, just two weeks after the Quadrathlon, I then took part in Ironman Wales 2019 and completed the event - a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a marathon.

In 2017 Mike’s opticians referred him to the hospital regarding something they had seen.

My eyes seemed fine apart from a tiny (pin head) blur in the very centre. After several tests I was told everything is clear but something had happened to my optic nerves. By October 2020 this became an instruction not to drive and a request to register as sight impaired. In June 2021 the diagnosis remains unclear but I have now been registered as severely sight impaired.

I will be able to complete the Duchenne Research Relay with the support of fellow participants who will direct me when we need to turn. I am confident about this and they offer fantastic support, I have registered for this challenge because the Taylor family are an inspiration. They do not let obstacles hinder, but rather see them as something to overcome.

You can read more about Mike and also why not support him here