Thursday, 7 August 2014

In the local rag

In order for me to help others I must first help myself...

Of course this also includes the support of so many kind people who have helped me from when I first became ill, right up to the present.

I am going to be honest and say I have found it really difficult asking people for donations to help me achieve my goal of running. It doesn't sit well with me I much prefer to be giving my time and raising awareness for other people.

Many people I suppose will see my getting a running blade as "Just another hobby", or "why should he get all this attention and free stuff". I suppose I would answer that with "Yes I am very fortunate, however I have worked really hard to accomplish my goals" I have never once said "why did this happen to me". For me it's just part of my life. Terrible stuff happens to people everyday I am one of the lucky ones who can still get out there and do what I want to do. In some cases it can be tough, real tough as prosthetics are very expensive. I had for a long time give up on the idea of ever being able to run, instead using a favourite saying of mine which is "concentrate on the things you can do".

Anyhoo after having my first ever trip abroad last September and meeting my friend Shannon's prosthetist, Scott. I was advised to contact the Challenged Athletes Foundation which is based in the US. I did this pretty much on my return, completing an on-line application form and asking both my boss at work Dan and my prosthetist over at Pace Rehabilitation Toby for references. I was blown away by the support I got from these two guys as they wrote absolutely fantastic references, so good in fact that when I read them back I thought "Wow who is this guy" (yeah I have a habit of being overly critical of myself and sometimes don't see what others see in me). It's an awesome feeling to know you have the backing of people you really admire and respect.

About a week after sending in my application I got a mail back saying unfortunately the Challenged Athletes Foundation wouldn't be able to approve my application as they were not supporting International Athletes at this time. "Ahh well" I thought, at least I gave it a shot. I'll just concentrate on my riding. I'm a very lucky chap as I am sponsored on my Bartlett Tendon Knee and I also receive much appreciated and excellent care from Pace Rehab who have looked after me from very early on after my amputation.

Time passed by, probably 6 to 7 months and I was booked in for an appointment to attend Pace's new Satellite clinic right here in the North East in Newcastle. Toby sent me a mail to confirm my appointment, however he also asked "has CAF been in touch with you?" To which I answered "No". It was at this point Toby informed me I had been approved for a Ossur Flex Run blade,complete with Nike sole. Awesome!!! Obviously as Pace was already supporting me with what is essentially a £10K cycling limb, they couldn't then just give me the rest of the components to complete a running prosthesis. This is were the fund raising would come into play. Yeah I wasn't keen on the idea, however I knew I couldn't let the opportunity slip away without trying. So firstly I had to convince myself. My way of thinking being like my opening statement "In order for me to help others I must first help myself".

Fund raising, wow how am I going to go about this? That's when Toby suggested contacting Arctic ONE . Well it was weird as actually Matt Kirby the founder and one of the trustees from Arctic ONE got in touch with me. Matt explained that he had been watching me for sometime and was an avid reader of my blog. Matt thought we could help each other out. Arctic ONE would fund raise on my behalf and I could promote and attend Arctic ONE's amazingly organise events.  And this is how I have came to be entered in my first triathlon on the 23rd of August down in Eton in Berkshire at Dorney Lake.

My grant application runs out from CAF on the 31st of December and I need to raise roughly £8500 to get me up and running.

This is a huge challenge for me. I have only just got back to swimming after 20 years and as far as running goes, well I can't even jog at the moment in my ordinary everyday leg. I can't wait to learn to run and from there know that every step I take will be in getting someone else to where they want to be.

A huge thank you to Gavin and Tom for their newspaper report and images and allowing people to read a little about my story.

Thanks everyone for your support.

Article can be found here Consett and Stanley Advertiser

The Northern Echo 

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