South West | Shirley's update
A Plymouth Royal Navy weapon engineer living with the after effects of long-term injuries during service has found herself powering through mental blocks on the Swiss side of the Alps, on a Help for Heroes adaptive ski trip.
Naomi Lynch has been serving for the last five years in the Royal Navy with constant unresolved injuries sustained in basic training. Most recently serving in Hasler Naval Service Recovery Unit, Naomi has multiple leg and hip injuries, causing daily pain, and is awaiting an operation on her jaw after a fall due to her unstable joints. “In terms of lower body recovery and getting my life back, at the last operation I distinctively remember the doctor saying ‘however you are at six months after the op is how you’ll be staying’. Six months felt like a decent recovery period at the time, but that six month mark is creeping up on me and I am just so keen and eager to get off my crutches. I’ll try anything.
“The first time I actually travelled anywhere on skis”, said Naomi, "was just something else. I’d done a lot of drills without the skis and then with just my good leg in a ski, lots of walking and sliding up and down the slope in just the boots. Then out of nowhere, my instructor just says ‘okay, time for the other one, here we go’ and sort of pushes me down the slope! He ran and caught me at the bottom. It was only 20 metres or so on a fairly non-existent gradient, nothing ground-breaking. But when I got to the bottom and realised that I’d done it, not fallen and nothing hurt, it was almost a shock! I thought something would go wrong and we’d have that ‘maybe we should talk about a sit-ski’ conversation, but no, it went okay and I was ecstatic!
“The whole week was obviously not without its complications, it took me much longer than it would take someone who was in full control of their legs, and in the evenings my feet would swell up and become quite tender. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything though, it was nothing a cold soak couldn’t fix. I’m in pain all the time, why not at least do something that makes me happy and worth the pain?”
Naomi has found a new love for the snow and the culture it perpetuates. “It just feels like the ultimate freedom. I’ve got nothing to compare it to, it’s just an incredible sport that I’ve only been exposed to for a week, and it’s already given me so much. Although it’s not a fix for any of my injuries, I feel mentally refreshed and ready to take on anything. Skiing is so physically demanding, injury or not, and if I can do that then I can certainly take a run at anything else life throws my way. Things become much clearer after completing something like this, it really puts into perspective all the things you thought you could and couldn’t do."
Wales | Ruth's update
The past month has been a busy one in Wales. From our wonderful new manager Shelley starting with us, to some serious creepy crawlies, a coffee morning and making new exciting plans for what is to come in Wales!
Shelley Elgin is the new Regional Recovery Team Manager for Wales. Shelley's role is to manage the team, outreach services and our new office base. We have big plans to establish a real footprint in Wales working with beneficiaries and partner organisations. Our new office will be based in Treforest, South Wales and when we are open (hopefully around mid-April) Shelley would like everyone to come and visit us and spread the word of the new team in Wales!
Our wonderful members got to have some seriously creepy fun at the Reptile Experience in Saundersfoot. Everyone was really hands on with snakes, a plethora of different lizards, and the biggest South African frog anyone had ever seen! We even got to meet a very ancient turtle named Darth Maul. Every single animal we encountered was named after the cast of Star Wars!
We got to attend the premiere of Beauty and the Beast in Treforest where the new office will be based. I honestly think our male attendees enjoyed the movie more than the women and kiddies. There were lots of smiles, popcorn and singing afterwards (never did I think a grown man could sing one of Belle’s songs so perfectly) it was truly a sight to be seen and heard!
What’s happening next month?
We are hoping to have the doors of our new office open for everyone to visit, have a coffee, some good old fashioned chit chat and welcome every one with open arms.
Please keep an eye on your emails for some egg-citing offers for over Easter!Back to Bandstand