Marine Sam Stocks, 21, from Hull served with 40 Commando since 2011 and has been on one tour of Afghanistan. In September 2013, Sam was diagnosed with a kidney condition called IGA Nephropathy. Within 10 to 15 years Sam’s kidneys will be fail and he will need to be on dialysis and eventually have a kidney transplant. Sam has now joined Hasler Company, a Royal Marine unit specifically designed to help aid the recovery, rehabilitation and re-integration of injured service personnel from all three services needing focused and individual attention.
Since the diagnosis Sam has had to be on medical steroids which have messed with him both physically – causing weight gain and skin issues – and psychologically. He will soon be able to stop taking these, but will have to remain on medication that weakens the immune system meaning that Sam could be vulnerable to infections and viruses.
Despite his relatively recent diagnosis, Sam has kept up his physical activity. Sam has been supported by Help for Heroes through use of the Endeavour Centre – a purpose built recovery complex offering state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment developed by Help for Heroes and HMS Drake that Hasler Company use. It was also through Hasler that Sam found out about the Invictus Games. He went to the selection trials for Track Athletics and his determination, skill character meant he was selected for the team.
“I am so happy at the selection and I hope I do the team proud” says Sam, who is competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m races. “For me, sport is important for keeping a positive attitude and for building morale, especially when you are part of a team. It can help you to forget your worries.”
Although currently still serving, Sam expects to be Medically Discharged in the near future, and as someone who always expected to be a Marine for life, this is a daunting time. “The Invictus Games has allowed me to meet other Veterans who have been Medically Discharged and to hear the incredible things they have gone on to achieve and it gives me hope for the future. I am currently taking several courses in Adventure Training as I hope to be able to start my next career in this area, teaching others about outdoor adventure and traveling the world.”