Charity cancer challenge saved my life says music producer father-of-two from Ipswich
© 2013 Mark Hewlett
An music producer from Ipswich says taking on a charity walk for Cancer Research helped save his life after he was diagnosed with autism and ADHD and became homeless.
Nat Clarkson, 39, also known as NJC, has his own record label and works with a host of renowned artists but has silently battled lifelong anxiety and depression, finding it difficult to cope day-to-day.
His struggle eventually led him to have break down, losing all ability to communicate with those around him.
The father-of two found out why in February 2017 when he was diagnosed with autism and ASHD, two complicated neurological conditions he has had since birth.
The diagnosis came at a difficult time for Mr Clarkson whose 24-year relationship had just broken down, leading him to become homeless, lost and without a plan of how to move forward.
Aware he needed to do something positive to turn his life around, he began Cancer UK’s month-long walking challenge ‘Walk All Over Cancer’, where participants attempt to clock 10,000 steps every day in March.
A year on, and his life back on track, Mr Clarkson is urging others to sign up for the challenge.
He said: “I’ve practically spent over fifteen years sat on my own working in my home studio in isolation, so getting outside, in the fresh air was a very strange experience at first.
“I had all of this energy bottled up and it all came out. For me it was ground-breaking.
“I’d avoided many social gatherings in the past as it would be very hostile for me because I never knew why at the time.
“When I was walking it helped me make sense of everything and figure things out, it would all tick over in my head.
“I started to lose weight, I started to feel better about myself.
“I’ve lost over five stone since then, all because I started walking.
“It’s been a massive part of my rehabilitation.”
Mr Clarkson soon surpassed his 10,000 step challenge, so decided to get creative. Using an app that tracked his walks on a map, he has paced out patterns, including a C for cancer, a pint glass and a t-shirt - and shared them on Facebook.
For more information on the Walk All Over Cancer challenge and to sign up visit www.cruk.org/walkallover