I was given a fantastic opportunity to work with the Allied Forces Foundation, which is a British-American foundation working to raise awareness and funding for allied wounded and their families affected by the conflict of Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly through support of veteran's team participation in sporting events.
The most significant of these events is the renowned Marine Corps Marathon, which takes place in Washington DC, USA on the last weekend of October.
I was very honoured to be asked to be a mem- ber of the support team for this years event. The soldier I was supporting was a guy called Andy Reid, whilst serving in Afghanistan in 2010, Andy was blown up by and IED (Improvised Explosive Device), resulting in the loss of both his legs and his right arm. Andy has an adapted bike which allows him to cycle, so during the Marathon we ran with Andy and it was an amazing experience.
The crowd was fabulous, the scenery and the overall atmosphere was electric. We completed this in 4hours and 20mins, which includes pit stops for Andy to sort out his prosthetics, this included Andy falling off his bike twice (unhurt).
It was simply an amazing and humbled experience be- ing able to be a part of these guys achievements with the obvious difficulties these guys face daily. Whilst in the states we also visited the Walter Reed hospital which is the national rehabilitation centre for the US military. It's a huge hospital that covers everything from surgery to rehab and prosthetics, we were also lucky to visit the Capital building and get a VIP tour. We were also given VIP access to the Pentagon and managed to get into the press room which you will have seen on the TV when Obama gives any interviews.
When at the pentagon we got to walk down the corridor were flight 77 crashed into the east side of the building on 9/11.and see just how far the plane crashed through the building, we were also able to see the memorial room where all the victims names are engraved on marble on the walls, you can also leave a message in the book of thoughts which are sent to the families when full. it was a very somber place.
I'm very much looking forward to working again with these guys as they are inspirational
and proves that you can overcome anything and still be positive and live your life to the fullest.
Clinical Support Worker