32 year-old Anna served for seven years in the RAF in a career that included two tours of Iraq. In 2013 she suffered a bleed on her spine, resulting in nerve damage which massively restricted her ability to walk and left her relying heavily on a wheelchair. She was told she would never walk again, but can now do so a little with the aid of crutches: “The nerve damage will never repair but I’m so lucky to have the mobility I’ve got,” says the mum of three. “After my spinal cord injury I lost the person I used to be and spent most of my days succumbing to the pain and sleep. Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre changed that, it helped me find the new me and realise I could achieve anything I wanted to.
"Since being involved I have been on many adventures and learned many new talents. I have so much to thank Help for Heroes for and now I would like to give something back".
Anna only learnt to swim properly in January and admits she was petrified of open water swimming: “It’s been a lot of hard work getting fit and ready for it, but for me it just means that even when the pain is so bad and I don’t want to get out of bed I know I’m strong enough to achieve anything after I’ve done this. That’s the driving force. It means so much more too as I’ve made new friends and I feel like I belong somewhere again.”