Nigel White left the Royal Navy in September 2021 having completed 25 year’s service within the Fleet Air Arm, a branch of the Royal Navy that maintains its aircraft.
Nigel suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis / Spondoarthritis a chronic, progressive and painful inflammatory rheumatic disease that predominately affects the joints of the body, mainly within the Spine and Hips, but can spread to other areas and in extreme cases can affect major organs, such as stomach, intestines, eyes and skin. It is managed and controlled by some powerful medication.
“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had to isolate at home due to the side effects of my medication, however during that time the medication I was on failed, and so I was back to square one, with being in immense pain, unable to stand, sit, lay, or walk, with my sleep severely affected. I have now, after many months started a new medication that I have to have regular trips to the hospital for, and early signs are that it is working well. Unfortunately, during time it has allowed the disease to spread and affect my stomach and intestines which has now caused me to have a similar type of disease within those organs also requiring medication.
Being a member of Team UK during this extended period, has had benefits though, because we’ve managed to stay in contact with each other throughout even though we’ve not seen each other face to face, thanks to technology. This was a god send to me in isolation because it meant there was still the Team UK camaraderie, ethos and support, which went a long way to helping my mental health, and I dare say other members of the Team.
“Due to restrictions and having to isolate, as well as starting my recovery from scratch again I haven’t been able to train much during the last 18 months. However, it is not all doom and gloom because I have recently managed to purchase my first house, which I am turning one of the bedrooms into a home gym, so I may train while I’m isolating prior to my hospital trips for medication. I’m also currently starting training to gain my HGV/Bus/Coach licences and looking to start working towards gaining my Private Pilots Licence, having recently completed a trial flight.”
Nigel’s sports recovery journey commenced 5 years ago, with one sport, (inspired and encouraged by an Invictus Games Gold Medallist and fellow member of the FAA).
“This benefited me greatly by giving me new focus each time, reducing some of my pain, stiffness and mobility issues by keeping me active and by bringing me together with like-minded people who understand some of the obstacles I have to overcome daily. So, I would get a confidence boost by sharing that international stage with my Invictus family representing Team United Kingdom.”
Representing Team UK at the forthcoming Invictus Games The Hague 2020 would provide a tremendous inspiration to his recovery journey.
“Firstly it would be a massive boost to my recovery journey, by allowing me to set another goal in my training, as well as a confidence boost, showing that my perseverance has paid off. I’ve been on my recovery journey for five years now, and unfortunately because I have a progressive, possibly degenerative condition I will never be able to fully complete my recovery journey and possibly some of the sports I’m training in now, I may be unable to participate in, in the future. So, I want to make the most of this opportunity while I can, and possibly inspire someone who has been in a similar position to take that first step outside their comfort zone and maybe set them on the road to being a future member of Team UK.”