Sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, but some are carrying more than most.
Take former Army reservist, Brian Medler, 38, who is walking nine miles to and from work every day with a 15kg fridge on his back.
Brian has trekked across Norwich hauling the huge appliance, which is covered in tinsel and lights, every day this month and won’t stop until Christmas Eve. Plus, when he gets home, he does 100 squats with the fridge still on his back.
On Christmas Day, after spending time with his three kids, the transport manager will carry the fridge more than 13 miles around Norwich’s outer ring road.
But Brian, who spent 12 years as an infantry soldier in the Third Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment until 2019, is doing it in the name of charity. The transport manager wants to raise money and awareness for mental health in ex-military personnel.
Brian said of his endeavour: ‘People think I’m a crazy fool.’
‘I know some people do things dressed as Santa or with a Christmas hat on but I wanted to do something a bit different.
‘So I decided I’d use the fridge because it’s a big platform with a large surface area to advertise what I’m doing, and also it is different.’
‘I’ve had several people stop me, beep their horns and wave, and have had others give me money while I’m walking, which has obviously gone to the charities. Children love it because the fridge is lit up with Christmas lights and tinsel so it is very festive.’
‘Kids wave at me. They think it is brilliant. The interaction with people is good.’
The father-of-three, whose marriage ended after his military service and whose own mental health ‘spiralled out of control’ in the past year, admitted his challenge has been an ordeal.
‘After three or four miles, I do feel the weight of the fridge. I can feel the fact I’ve got this 15kg on my back.
However, Brian said he finds strength to carry on.
‘I just dig a bit deeper and keep going. I have energy for the squats still. The aim is to do 1,200 squats by Christmas and I should get 150 miles done walking with the fridge in total.’
‘I do the squats at home after work every day.’
‘My wife and I are separated so, on Christmas Day, I will spend time with them in the morning and then walk around the entire outer ring road of Norwich with the fridge on my back. That is something like 13.2 miles.’
Brian has been able to get NHS treatment for his depression but many other ex-service personnel rely on charities, such as Walking With The Wounded and Combat Stress.
Brian wants to raise £1,000 for these charities.
‘I hope people will see me and wonder, ‘What’s that idiot doing?’ and maybe then donate some vital funds,’ he added.
‘Charities are really struggling at the moment to raise funds, as many events they would normally be running have had to be cancelled.’
‘They need support.’
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