Band of Brother, Mary Wilson, 50, had been in the army serving as a Community Mental Health Nurse specialist for almost 20 years when she was medically discharged. After being thrown from a horse and hitting a wall while training with the Royal Horse Artillery, she fractured her right cheek bone and broke two toes. The accident also tore the bicep muscle off the bone from her right shoulder. Three operations later and Mary was unable to pass her Weapon Handling Test. She was also sadly diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Mary says;
"Each day is different when you have MS. You get those difficult times when my mood swings and frustration have been terrible. The fatigue, pain memory loss and lack of co-ordination can make life extremely hard."
Mary, who lives in Edinburgh with her partner Judi refuses to let her illness and injury stop her from living a full and active life. Remarkably, she has been climbing all the Munros (mountains over 3000ft) in Scotland for the last 10 years. On Sunday she completed her challenge which makes her one of only 4700 people to have ever done this since the list of climbs was compiled by Thomas Munro in 1891!
"MS manifests itself in many ways - fatigue and muscle weakness have obviously made this challenge though - but I also suffer from balance and sight issues. It can take massive effort and determination to progress over boulders and scree when your eyes and brain don't compute. Some of the mountains required technical climbing and abseiling which pushed me to my limits. I am also unable to orientate a map and use a compass as that part of my brain has died so Judi has been invaluable as a guide, companion and best friend.”
Mary summited her last climb - An Gearanach near Ben Nevis on 30 August. The weather was awful all day as it poured down with rain but she did it! Mary has chosen to donate the first £1000 she raises to Help for Heroes, a charity that she feels represents the spirit of determination to overcome adversity. Further money raised will be donated to Treats for the Canine Troops and the John Muir Trust.
"I have been active throughout most of my life. When I was injured and diagnosed with MS I felt like part of my life had been taken away from me and the loss of confidence and self-esteem was overwhelming. I had to learn to focus on what I could achieve, and not what I couldn’t, and view disability as being just different. Help for Heroes helped me recover my dignity, self worth and team spirit, which is why I wanted to give something back. Completing the last Munro mountain was extremely emotional for me. There has been much blood sweat and tears along the way. Judi was with me as well as many friends who have shared the journey. Sport, whatever it is, really does make a difference. It helps focus body and soul, keeps you fit and stimulates your mind. Help for Heroes understand this and are there to help you along the way."
Support Mary on her challenge here and look out for Mary at the Invictus Games where she will be competing in Archery, Field and Swimming!