To start this diary I feel is best if I backtrack and make everybody aware of my story and get you up to date as to what I am doing in my new civilian life.
January 31st January 2012… This is a date I will never forget! For a number of reasons really, mainly that this was the day my legs were taken from me by the Taliban in Afghanistan. An Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) was very well hidden, I stepped on the device and BANG my legs were nowhere to be seen, at least not for a couple of days.
As I said this changed my life for a number of reasons, not only was I now at rock bottom and not knowing where my life will go from now, I had the added responsibility of never being able to walk properly again. More importantly to me as most of you may be aware is the fact I’ll never be able to play the sports I once craved for 24/7 ever again. At least not to the standard I could once play! Also my family was big issue for me, how could I be a proper Father again without the capability of walking to the park, enjoying holidays, running to help when they have fallen, be there in an instant as they cry for me???? Well these were tiny things in my opinion (IMO) that I managed to overcome, however the walking pain free and the fact I am putting on huge amounts of weight was killing me inside.. Why in 2015 can we not get a bilateral amputee walking pain free? That way I can walk as and when needed and I can keep my body active enough to start walking again pain free!!!
Over the years with me being injured I have always stayed in touch with my friend/pal, Brian Wood (Woody)… It’s not true what they say about him, he is a generally nice guy with a huge passion for our regiment, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. 😉
Woody, who is Head of Fundraising and Events for the Friends of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, has done an amazing job with the charity. Personally I don’t think they could have picked a better person to have headed it up. His passion, drive and determination is huge and something only others can admire. I know there are others who are in the background that absolutely work their nuts off and make things happen, but woody is the perfect head to be leading this charity to the state it is in now.
I first got involved with raising the money for the regiment pretty much as soon as I was blown up. That’s not a lie, I had a huge passion for wanting to carry on with my career after I was injured and I knew I was making impressions to get me back to the battalion. This wasn’t the case unfortunately. Then Woody took the job he has now on board and I demanded I took part in the first big event which was the Spinnaker Tower abseil. From there I have been involved and I will to the day I die. That’s not a cliché, the regiment was my life for 12 years and it’s something I as well as others are extremely proud of!
Some of you may have heard the name Michael Swain MBE?! Well he was the first British Soldier to have received life changing surgery in Australia, Osseointergration! Without going into too much detail about the exact way of how they do it (that I am not completely aware of myself) but essentially they hammer two pins into the femur, eventually they attach my prosthetic legs to the pins.. This enables me to walk without any sockets. Sockets are a pain in the arse, literally! I have had over 15 pairs of sockets made for me, and every single socket has caused me serious rubbing, lumps, bleeding, damaged tissue.. you name it I have had it.
Seeing Michael walking and his pictures was the point I decided I wanted to get this procedure done and I was willing to do whatever it took to get it. I was even to the point where I use my own money or even sell my house to free up some money to pay for it, I was desperate! Until I took a chance and asked Woody! I called Woody one evening, started with the normal Egore, Pig, PigFace, normal woodlet language, then I popped the question and asked if its possible?! After I mentioned sums of money, estimates he quickly said ‘Pig that’s a lot of money, something that’s not going to be achievable in such short time’ My heart sunk! I thought fine, I need to sell my house, get the funds and go about it myself. That’s what I was going to do, I need to walk!!!
Woody eventually called me and said ‘Egore, I have some cracking news. The regiment along with the Friends are going to send you to Australia to get the surgery you want’ I was buzzing… But naturally I gave a instant reply asking him who he had slept with to initiate this massive commitment. (This is mine and pigs banter, I know he never slept with anyone 😉 or do i?)
At this point I would like to mention that since I have been employed by a Friend of the Regiment my boss Chris Johnson has been amazing. I’m not one to tell people they’re amazing but Chris is certainly one of a kind, not bad for an ex copper!! He has dedicated a sum of money monthly to the regiment, I don’t think I can say how much but believe me its quality! Chris has also said he will contribute £1500 towards my flights to Australia, can this guy get any better?! Well yes, he has said I can have the five weeks off and use the time off as paid compassionate leave!! WHAT A GUY!!! I will pay the remainder as I wouldn’t mind being spoilt on the plane and fly business class :-O
Next was the long process in getting drip fed information about exact costings and exact dates of when I would be able to fly and get this surgery done. This took forever, however, finally today I managed to get the exact dates and costings finalised and sent to the people that need to know. I will fly on the 14th of February 2015, be operated on the 18th February 2015… I will then remain in the country for a number of weeks. Firstly to make sure everything is put into place, secondly to have my rehab so that I can walk away socket free!
Will keep everyone updated as things get explained to me in more detail. I have a number of pre assessment forms I have to fill out, I need to actually book my flights, buy some sun tan lotion and more importantly beast myself in the gym. I need to lose a number of kilos beforehand but with my close friends John Jarvis and Ben Hodge, I will get this down and super fit!
There a number of people I would like to thank for getting this ball rolling…
- Brian, I don’t need to explain anymore, legend!
- Matt Maer (Sir)
- Brigadier Richard Dennis
- Colonel (Retd) Wayne Harber
- Mick Isted
- Chris Johnson
- The Friends that continue to support this great regiment.
I am sure I could personally thank every individual, but instead I will write my own blog/diary to keep you all in the loop as things progress. I will start by writing every Monday to keep you updated on my weight, fitness and progression of flight booking.
Thank you all once again, Jay Baldwin