A MAN who lost most of his vision and then had to deal with the heartbreak of seeing his two brothers and father die has pulled his life back from the brink – thanks to exercise.
Gus Mcleod, 51, from Lochend, began losing his sight at the age of 26.
After then losing three members of his family within short succession, his weight ballooned to 19 stone as he gorged on food in an attempt to heal his pain.
“I started eating comfort food because I was stressed and you get into a cycle. I didn’t know what to do. It was like falling into a hole,” he said.
Gus had always relied on the support of his loved ones but then his brother, Roddy, died five years ago after a battle against cancer.
Next, tragedy struck once again when older brother Alistair, 62, died in May last year from a heart attack.
In August 2014, his 86-year-old father, George, died from cancer.
To deal with the cards life had dealt him, Gus gorged on junk food, washing it all down with Coke.
He could not see a way back to fitness until he found the Hibs Community Foundation, a group who helped him turn his life around.
He has already completed various obstacle courses and has run in the Edinburgh Marathon, thanks to the help of members of the group who guide him as he runs. He said: “One of my friends asked if I would come along and I said ‘Yes, I need to do something about the way I am feeling.’”
But the father-of-three had no idea just how much the group would transform his life as he managed to shed three-and-a-half stone.
He decided to start dedicating the sporting events he competed in to the memory of his late loved ones – an extra bit of motivation.
“I was looking for answers,” Gus said. “I had to be strong because of my family. My brother Alistair looked after everything and my mum and I have been doing that since last year.”
Among his next major challenges will be the Spartan Sprint in Cambridge on September 29 which will see him race through an obstacle course. “That’s a big one and I really want to do it for my two brothers,” he said. Gus suffers from cone dystrophy – an inherited disorder characterised by loss of cone cells, responsible for both central and colour vision.
He also has degenerative eye disease Keratoconus, which causes his vision to be so reduced it is like “looking through frosted glass”.