Blog: “Volunteers helped me run again”
Today is International Volunteer Day, which recognises the contributions of volunteers around the globe. The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is celebrating this with a series of blogs from disabled volunteers in sport. In this blog, Danny explains how volunteers helped him run again and how it inspired him to start volunteering himself.
I was an avid runner in my youth but following a motorbike accident in 2012 and after a short spell on life support, my right leg was amputated above the knee. My right arm and hand were also completely paralysed due to a brachial plexus nerve injury, where three nerves were severed from my spine. During my hospital stay I had further complications, including lung failure.
Going through all of this was life-changing but it didn’t stop me and it was my amputation that gave me the urge to start running again. After two years of running by myself through the help from a few great NHS physiotherapists, I got in touch with LimbPower and I started working with a few people there. The support and advice I received really helped me to improve my running.
Seeing how the volunteers at LimbPower helped me, as well as others in the same position, I wanted to return the favour. This is how I got into mentoring with LimbPower and with my running club, Thanet Athletics Club. I started helping at their youth running competitions, as well as help with the youngsters during training. I’ve been running with this club for two years now and attend two to three times a week, and volunteer when they need help.
Mentoring with endless energetic youngsters at LimbPower can be tiring, but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m always looking forward to the next event. I enjoy getting to help others and see them enjoy themselves at new activities or improving at a sport they already enjoy.
Volunteering has a tremendous effect on me, I meet a lot of new people and I learn a lot of new things along the way. Equally, I’m able to show other disabled people in sport different ways of doing something. It also allows me to improve my activities and of course, working with the running coaches has been great to my personal development too.
It’s been over five years since I had my accident and I'm still having surgeries and doing daily physiotherapy. I’ve managed to get a little activity back in my right arm now but it's still far from a functioning arm and hand, but this doesn’t stop me - I’m in it for the long haul. To any disabled person wanting to get into sports volunteering I’d tell them just to give it a go and I’m happy to give advice on how to take it up.
If it wasn’t for volunteers, a lot of people would not be doing sports and many opportunities wouldn’t be available. This is why volunteering in sport is important as it helps other people get into a sport for the first time. It’s definitely helped me get back into running and I’m really grateful for that.