How does someone write a blog about a charity organisation that’s pretty much saved my life?
After breaking my neck in 1992 playing rugby and having my whole life turned upside down I was very fortunate to still lead a pretty normal and active life, playing sport, travelling the world and representing Great Britain at the Paralympics for wheelchair rugby and also representing Great Britain at the World Championships for Water Skiing.
For the past 10 years I’ve been suffering from severe depression. It got so bad that I tried to commit suicide. I knew that I couldn’t carry on like this. So, 3 months ago I did a little bit of research and I came across Access Adventures, which I had never heard of before, so I decided to give them a call because I wanted to see if I could get back into water skiing, which I had not done since 2003, due to the sudden passing of my best friend and skiing partner.
After having a long and hilarious conversation on the phone with Clare from Access Adventures I was booked in for the weekend. Feeling very apprehensive and nervous, I loaded the car and off I went.
I arrived on Friday night and was met by a staff member, Caite. She was so friendly and helpful and really made me feel totally relaxed and at ease.
The following morning, I was greeted by Jane and Clare, who both were just so friendly and very welcoming.
It then got down to the skiing side of things and as an ex-skier I thought I could just turn up and it would be like riding a bike again, you never forget. Man, how wrong I was. During my two skis that I had that day, I spent 90% of the time either in the water or under the water. I remember laughing so hard (something I had not done much of in the past 10 years) that I think water went up my nose. I didn’t care about that because I felt so alive again being back in the water. Plus, all the staff, volunteers and other skiers were just so encouraging and said there’s always tomorrow.
The following day I felt on top of the world with the biggest smile because I had just done 2 awesome skis, with the help of 2 volunteers. I was then asked by Jane if I was available the following weekend because they were having a camp and wanted to know if I’d be interested. Absolutely, I replied (grinning from ear to ear) but wasn’t sure if I would be able to afford it. Then Jane told me that they had anonymous donations to help people like myself. I was so taken a back and blown away by this very kind gesture by someone I had only just met. It’s organisations like Access Adventures that really do make a difference and have an impact on people’s lives who might be struggling to cope with their disabilities or self-confidence. I couldn’t wait for the camp.
Since that day I’ve spent most weekends at the lake having the time of my life, meeting so many new people as well as old friends from way back when. There has been the camp, the end of season party weekend, both of which were the most unbelievable, enjoyable weekends ever. There were tears of happiness, loads of laughter, a little bit of drinking but most importantly, amazing friendships were made.
From the bottom of my heart - Jane, Clare, Tim, Caite and all the volunteers and fellow skiers, thank you all so much for all the hard work that you all do and the support you have given me over the past 3 months, but most importantly for saving my life and giving me a purpose to be alive again. I’m forever grateful to Access Adventures and all of you. Who knows where I would be right now. THANK YOU.