I am raising money for the Pattenmakers Charitable Foundation, which supports a number of good causes including the education of young people and the provision of prosthetics for military personnel who have been wounded in action.
With the Virgin London Marathon just two weeks away, it was a privilege to visit the Defence Military Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court in Surrey last week, to see where the money raised goes.
Headley Court receives the most seriously wounded for rehabilitation once they have left hospital. Many have lost limbs, some more than one, and all need time and space to overcome the physical and mental challenges that their new condition presents them with.
The scale and cost of the operation came as a surprise to me. I’d been expecting somewhere much smaller, more akin to a hospital environment. This was a large, busy campus, with gyms, pools and PT instructors as well as beds and physio tables! It’s a place of work, even for the recovering patients.
DMRC Headley Court lies at the end of a chain of critical care that starts when a soldier is wounded on the battlefield. Improvements in in-theatre emergency support have greatly improved the chances of wounded soldiers staying alive long enough to be repatriated and receive specialist care in the UK. And advanced prosthetics have vastly improved mobility: over 90% of amputees gain some form of independent mobility without recourse to a wheelchair.
The sophistication of some of the prosthetics was an eye-opener – metallic knee joints containing microchips – with the price of a replacement lower limb likened to the cost of a Ford Fiesta. Ditto the anti-gravity treadmill, that lets you run without putting pressure on the floor. Hundreds of thousands of pounds are needed to provide this level of care.
This vital kit is not cheap, and it’s easy to see why support from the Pattenmakers Charitable Foundation is so valued, and so needed.
Though it will be tough for me, my running the Virgin London Marathon is a very small feat by comparison with the challenges faced by these soldiers. Please click now to donate online, safely and securely, if you are able to support the Pattenmakers’ fundraising effort.
Thank you for your support.