He can hardly walk and barely see but that hasn't stopped Mark Taylor from defying the odds.
On Friday, the 48-year-old South Auckland dad is attempting to row 100km on an indoor rowing machine in a bid to raise money for the Heart Foundation.
It's a challenge which has gained the support of Olympic gold medalist Eric Murray, who described Taylor's efforts as "incredibly inspiring" while saying the furthest he had rowed in one stint was 30km.
"Most of the time when people do challenges they tick a box, like running a marathon or doing an ironman, a bucket-list type thing, whereas Mark is like 'I have everything against me but I'm not going to let that slow me down' and that's incredibly inspiring to see ... rowing on an erg is not an easy task," Murray told the Herald.
Seventeen years ago, Taylor was diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis, a rare degenerative disease which affects around one in 80 million.
It's a condition of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord.
"I was out chopping wood with my brother when I went to rub sweat from my eye and realised I couldn't see out of the right eye," Taylor said.
Later that year, he lost complete sight in his left eye and three years after that his vision was impaired in the other. By the age of 35, he became partially paralysed and entered a rehabilitation facility to learn to walk again. Now, he relies on the support of a walker.
But despite his hardship, Taylor refuses to let his condition define him and has been completing challenges for charities ever since.
Just last year, he swam across the Waitemata Harbour to raise $150,000 towards research of his condition.
Friday's challenge will be his biggest yet.
"I think the hardest part will be getting my body to last the distance. Because of my nerve damage, my muscles fatigue a lot quicker so I just hope I can last the distance.
"The rule of thumb with rowing is 70 per cent leg drive and 30 per cent upper body – whereas all of my effort is coming from my upper body," Taylor said.
Heart health hit close to home for Taylor last year when one of his colleagues suffered a heart attack at work. He has since recovered but said it was scary to witness.
He also lost his pop to a heart attack and both his in-laws had recently been hospitalised for problems with their heart.
"We need to consider the severity of heart health and this event has encouraged us to do more for the health of the ones we love."
His Givealittle page "That's how we row!" has already raised nearly $30,000 - but Taylor hopes to reach $100k.
Taylor won't be rowing alone on Friday at Auckland's Rowing Club, and other volunteers have also stepped up to the challenge including his wife, one of his daughters and his company Dempsey Wood.
Auckland women's gym, Smash Fit, has also created its own team of 81 volunteers who will attempt the rowing challenge to fund a defibrillator for the community of Papakura, with any surplus money raised going to Taylor's fundraising efforts.
"With so many people affected by Covid-19 this year, it's amazing to have all of their support, it will be a huge help in reaching our target," Taylor said.
Alison Wheatley-Mahon, head of fundraising and partnerships at the Heart Foundation, said with this year's unprecedented circumstances, the Heart Foundation is relying more than ever on people like Taylor.
"With heart disease being New Zealand's single biggest killer, it's remarkable people like Mark who help make sure that life-saving work continues to be funded. We are in awe of the effort and commitment he has put into both his training and fundraising – we couldn't do it without him," she said.
Murray said the money that Taylor had already raised from all the challenges he had taken on was remarkable.
"These are the awesome people in our community. I do as much as I can because I've been put in a privileged position with winning a couple of gold medals but here's someone with a disability who is going out, raising a tonne of money and doing something that is well outside his comfort zone and it is really inspiring to see."
About heart disease
• Heart disease is New Zealand's single biggest killer, claiming the lives of more than 6700 New Zealanders every year - that's one person every 90 minutes.
• More than 170,000 New Zealanders are currently living with heart disease.
• The Heart Foundation funds research and specialist training for cardiologists, while its education and prevention programmes tackle heart disease head-on in the community.
• The charity relies heavily on the generosity of everyday Kiwis to support its life-saving work.