Tomorrow night (Saturday 30 May 2015), Help for Heroes (H4H) Band of Brother member Corbin Mackin takes on the final of the first season of ITV’s Ninja Warrior UK. He will be proudly wearing his H4H Band of Brother’s T-shirt to help raise awareness for the Charity.
Corbin, who served as a rifleman in Helmand Province six years ago has been through a heart-breaking journey to get to where he is today. His brother Travis was a Marine working just a few miles away from Corbin at the Kajaki Dam when an Improvised Explosive Devise was triggered and Travis was tragically killed.
“I was told by my commanding officer around the breakfast table. I was already thinking of the worst case of scenario. As soon as he said 'your brother' I had a massive out of body experience. I felt nothing, empty and hollow. Then I was angry. Why had no one found the IED before it exploded? That was my job out there.
Corbin accompanied his brother’s body home on the eight-hour flight in January 2009. “He was my role model – I couldn’t leave him. I had lost my best friend.”
Corbin ended up leaving the army as he struggled to come to terms with what had happened. Still feeling numb and not accepting the death he ended up drinking more and getting into fights as a way to cope. He says, “I am a good person. Fighting isn’t in my nature, but I kept on doing it.”
In December 2012, Corbin was involved in a terrifying head-on car crash. Although he was miraculously unhurt, he awoke the next day having forgotten about Travis’ death. “I came downstairs and saw a picture of him and that’s when it hit me that he was gone. I just started crying. It was then that I realised I needed help so I contacted H4H and soon after I was diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Corbin joined up to the H4H Band of Brothers, a fellowship for wounded, injured or sick Servicemen, women and veterans who can offer each other support and camaraderie. “I just feel that the H4H Band of Brothers is such an important thing. Trying to explain what I have been through or what PTSD is like can be impossible, but with these guys you don’t need to as everyone has been through their own trauma or situation. It makes things so much easier.”
Corbin, who now lives with his younger brother Milo in Plymouth and works for British Gas, began therapy and counselling to deal with his condition.
He says: “The PTSD has had a massive impact on my life. I'm slowly on the mend even though I still have problems. But I have now learnt some coping mechanisms. For example, having physical goals really helps me. I’ve climbed Ben Nevis and I do a lot of surfing. That’s why I signed up to Ninja Warrior UK.
“I also try and think of good things, like my little brother and good times with my older brother before he died. If I feel lost, angry and overwhelmed by life's problems I get out in the water and go surfing. I need to keep my mind occupied. I can't allow myself to get bored and irritated.
"The battle doesn't end when you get back from Afghanistan and I hope that by wearing my H4H Band of Brothers t-shirt on Ninja Warrior UK I can help raise awareness for a Charity that is there for people like me”
*Ninja Warrior UK is on ITV at 7pm tomorrow (Saturday May 30).
To support men and women like Corbin, sign up to the Help for Heroes Friends Campaign.