Friday, 24th December 2010
In the run-up to Christmas we obviously had quite a few meetings to try to get you home to celebrate it. You refused to get excited until you were in the ambulance then called me to say you were on your way. When you arrived, the traffic came to a standstill because you blocked the road, everyone was there waiting, lots of family and friends came to see our Hero return home at last. When I saw you in the back of the ambulance you were laughing because you had a gift tag and bow saying ‘Merry Christmas Mum X’
Help for Heroes has been Anthony’s saviour, from paying for a gym membership when he first came home for Christmas from Headley Court to inviting him to regularly spend time at its recovery centre in the North, Phoenix House in Catterick – the garrison town where he did his army basic training and passed out.
Through Help for Heroes, he went to the Warrior Games where he won a silver medal in the seated shot put and he came home with a bronze in wheelchair racing at the Invictus Games UK Trials in Sheffield this summer. Next year he’s competing in a half marathon and he wants to go to Vietnam!
After all this time though, I still feel extremely guilty because a mother is there to protect her children, but I couldn’t do that.
The Help for Help for Heroes respite weekend I went on recently specifically for the families of the very seriously injured veterans meant a lot. When I have met with families before it’s been ‘my boy can do this’ and ‘my boy can do that’ but my boy can’t. What made that time together so special is that we all just ‘got’ each other and clicked.
The fact is, that after nine years Anthony’s still fighting - when he was feeling low he had to wait six months for a mental health appointment with the MoD, that’s not good enough, no matter who you are – you need help now. And when his wheelchair breaks, the MoD and the NHS won’t fix it. He put his life on the line for this country but now the government is nowhere to be seen.
There is nothing I would love more than for Anthony to find love and have children - someone to share his life with. Then I would be happy. He is achieving more than anyone expected possible - he just wants to make a difference and he is - Never Say Never.