In his 30s, Steve Smailes was super fit - working on the bins for Harborough District Council and running 15 miles for fun.
He’s still only 42, but now he’s in a wheelchair, struck down by a particularly aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Fortunately Steve’s family - wife Jane, son Dan (21) and daughter Chloe (17) - aren’t the types to sit helplessly at his side.
They have launched an ambitious £10,000 appeal to enable him to tick off a few of the things on his “bucket list”.
Steve’s wife Jane said: “It’s all about creating some great memories, before Steve gets too ill or bedbound.”
Steve, who lives in Market Harborough, was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in December 2014.
“The neurologist could see from the MRI scans that he had been struggling along with it for at least 10 years” said Jane.
But within six months of the diagnosis, Steve was wheelchair dependent.
Now he has lost all movement below the waist, though he still has some upper body strength.
“Steve’s very, very positive about it” said Jane. “But he wants to get out of life as much as he can while he can.”
So what is on Steve’s personal bucket list?
(1) To see the spectacular Northern Lights.
(2) To see an England game at Wembley Stadium.
(3) To have a season ticket suitable for a disabled person so he can watch his beloved Leicester City more often.
(4) To see the pyramids in Egypt.
It will be hard work for the family to raise money for those dreams, particularly as Steve can’t work now and Jane is his carer.
Nevertheless, they’re giving it a good go. This weekend, for example, son Dan is on a sponsored bike ride to Skegness with his fiancee Beckie.
The duo have been promised more than £400 in sponsorship for the 93-mile trip.
A quiz night that was held in aid of Steve’s bucket list last Sunday night at The Royalist pub on Western Avenue raised another £458. It was organised by friends Marie and Dan from the organisation Harborough against Bullying.
Jane said: “We feel totally blessed to have such brilliant family and friends.
“We do really appreciate everyone’s work in helping to improve Steve’s quality of life.”
There’s also a justgiving website: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/steve-smailes
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis affects 10 to 15 per cent of people with MS.
From the first (primary) symptoms it is progressive.
Symptoms gradually get worse over time, rather than appearing as sudden attacks or relapses.
Jane said: “Topping up the total this week for the fundraising, including the JustGiving site, the quiz night and private donations, it came to £1, 193 so far!
“If we can get to £2,000, we should be able to do the Northern Lights part of the list.”