Every day, men and women have to leave their career in the Armed Forces as a result of physical or psychological wounds. Every step you take helps them recover and get on with their lives. Your fundraising provides physical, psychological, career, financial and welfare support for as long as it’s needed. Your steps also support Armed Forces families - because they too can be affected by their loved one’s wounds.
Could pay for an hour of online outreach, connecting with injured veterans and expanding their support network to reduce the feeling of loneliness.
Could pay for an emergency food basket for a veteran and their family for a week.
Could pay for a psychological wellbeing assessment, mental health treatment plan and access to psychological therapy.
When Rob Shenton was medically retired from the Armed Forces suffering from depression, the loss of his military career left him struggling with his mental health even more. But as part of his recovery journey, Rob rediscovered a passion for running and the ability to step up to a challenge he’d never dreamt would be possible.
"The biggest step I ever had to take was seeking help for depression. But it has been the best thing I have done. It kept me alive."
A foot injury left former Army officer Cornelia Oosthuizen in so much pain she made the life-altering decision to have her lower leg amputated. Cornelia, who had to learn to walk again, is now making great strides in her recovery journey.
"Doing physical exercise definitely helps you feel better. You don’t need a fancy gym - you can do a lot with the environment you’ve got at home."
One of the youngest soldiers to serve in the Gulf War aged 17, John Owens suffered two strokes while serving. The first, in his 20s, he thought at the time was just a headache. But when he was hospitalised more than a decade later the truth became apparent. John had suffered a second stroke, aged just 38. Physically John recovered well, but the damage done to his mental health - as he struggled to come to terms with his brain injury - wasn’t as easy to fix. Eventually he was medically discharged, suffering with depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"The biggest step I had to take was to be truthful to myself and say I needed help."
Former RAF Senior Aircraftsman Rachel Williamson’s military career came to an end when what appeared to be a minor injury ended with her losing the use of her right arm. The consequences on both her physical and mental health were severe but with support, Rachel has found new focus and is now taking steps towards a brighter future.
"I had to convince myself again that sports are really enjoyable and good for you. Now I am the person I used to be."
As a young swimmer, Rachel Williamson dreamed of competing in the Olympic Games. But during trials for the 2006 Commonwealth Trials she narrowly missed out on a place and decided to pursue an RAF career instead.
Rachel became a corporal and medic in the RAF and took up playing rugby. But in 2014, a minor injury on the playing field changed her life forever.
"I sprained my thumb, landing awkwardly on it and snapping it backwards. At first I didn’t pay much attention - I even played another game of rugby the next day.” However the damage turned out to be much greater than first thought. “My fingers started bothering me a lot, then my whole hand and then it started to affect my shoulder. Now, I can no longer use my entire right arm."
Rachel was medically discharged in 2018 and on top of dealing with her injury, the loss of her career took its toll mentally too.
"I was at my lowest point in early 2018, a dark place, and I hated myself."
"I also had to learn how to do everything again, such as writing for example. And I had to learn to ask for and accept help."
Through our Sports Recovery programme, Rachel regained the confidence her injury took away from her and joined the Invictus UK programme. Training gave her a new goal in life and at the Sydney Games in 2018, she won two gold medals in the rowing and three silvers and one bronze in the pool. She will be the first female captain of Team UK at the rescheduled 2021 Invictus Games in The Hague.
"When I first started training I was just turning in circles in the pool - I felt like Nemo. However, I have now come to the realisation that I still have one arm and two legs, and I have learned to use them properly, which was a big accomplishment. I found myself again thanks to the exercise. It’s not the medals that are important to me, but the fact that I am swimming again."