Leg 2, Day 89- Walking With The Wounded

Laura Penhaul By

Day 89 – Walking With The Wounded

Many may wonder why we are raising money for two charities that seem to be completely different. Well, it’s because they have a common purpose; both charities support their personnel with an holistic approach, to support through the adversities that they’ve faced and help them to see beyond the illness or injury. The charities create opportunities for sufferers to be able to speak and learn from others who have gone through the same, they work towards re-education and re-training to show them what a fulfilling life they can achieve going forwards. I have seen a number of ex servicemen come through an expedition with Walking With The Wounded and it’s transformed their lives, re-ignited an inner confidence and belief in what they can achieve. There are so many amazing charities out there, but WWTW stood out to me because it aligns with my passion of Paralympic sport. They demonstrate through their expeditions, to focus on the abilities their wounded personnel have and not to wallow in the disability. At Headley Court, this is where the in-house rehabilitation process begins, to teach personnel how to walk again or adapt to use of prostheses etc. the attitude they demonstrate reflects the spirit of the military personality, if you have a below knee amputation well it’s deemed as a ‘mere scratch’, if you have lost one upper limb and a lower limb, again there is always someone else worse off than you. Having this approach hopefully helps them to accept their disability and make a smooth transition into society. However, leaving the military must be very hard for some who have only ever known military living. This is where WWTW come into their own, they have amazing experts around them to help support those finding it difficult and the aim of the charity is to prove to them what they can do and not focus on what they can’t.

WWTW’s mission is to support all veterans with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long-term security for themselves and their families. The monies we raise are specifically going towards women that have been injured at war. Check out the website here

Hawaii

In addition to the services they provide, since the charity was founded in 2010 by Ed Parker, WWTW have organised and run ambitious expeditions to extreme parts of the world incorporating teams of wounded servicemen and women, both with physical and mental injuries.

The rationale behind their expeditions to the North Pole in 2011, Everest in 2012 and more recently to the South Pole in 2013 focus on both the wounded as well as wider society and include:

– To raise awareness of the work Walking With The Wounded undertakes.

– To provide inspiration to those coping daily with injury and disability.

– To demonstrate to ‘Our Wounded’ that they are able to achieve at the very highest level.

– To highlight to Corporate UK the extraordinary skill, determination, ability and courage that members of the wounded community possess despite injury.

All of their expeditions are sponsored in their entirety by corporate partners and their funding is separate from the generous donations they receive for the charity. This ensures monies they receive from fundraising activity are distributed solely into their re-education and re-training programs and not into funding any elements of the expeditions.

The latest expedition is the Walk of Britain, which has seen four British and two US wounded veterans walk 1,000 miles across mainland Britain, starting in Scotland on August 22nd and finishing at Buckingham Palace on November 1st (72 days in total). The team are Alec Robotham, Matt Fisher, Scott Ransley, Stewart Hill, Kirstie Ennis and Andrew Bement.

Find out more about The Walk Of Britain here.

Hopefully it will be timed that when the Walk of Britain team finish, we may well also be arriving into Samoa. So whilst we may moan about salt sores, I’m sure they’re enduring worse with irritation of their stumps, or back issues where a leg length may be putting them out. Whilst we do our wet:dry routine every 2 hours to get on or off the oars, it’s a reminder of how difficult it can be to simply put on a pair of dry socks when you only have one functional hand. It certainly acts as motivation for us, that no matter how much the weather and currents are against us, the Walk of Britain team and many other injured service personnel are inspiring us to draw on our abilities without complaint.

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Update:

Thanks to the lovely Johannes of Victron Energy and co-ordination of Tony, we have finally got ourselves back on track with being able to use and recharge our personal electronics. The power issue started when unbeknownst to us one of our eight solar panels failed and because of how the solar panels are wired together the failure resulted in us losing a big percentage of our battery charging ability. Over time, with the unknown reduced charge going to our two batteries, we noticed the batteries were gradually dropping and despite conserving as much power as we could we didn’t seem to be able to get one of the batteries to fully charge back up. The inability to fully charge one of the batteries concerned me as normally I ensure we recharge both our batteries to 100% at least once a week which allows the batteries to equalise and synchronise with the battery monitors. With the help of Tony remotely, I was able to fault find and discover one of the solar panels had indeed failed. Disconnecting the broken solar panel from the system meant that we regained the charge ability from the other working panels, however after several days of good solar charging conditions and continued power conservation one of the batteries still appeared to be at a much lower state of charge than the other. After lots of correspondence back and forth, Tony discussed things with Johannes and shared all the test meter results I had given them from the boat and it was felt that one of the battery monitors wasn’t giving a true reading of the battery’s actual state of charge. After manually synchronising the battery monitors to show both batteries were 100% full the batteries are now showing to be fully functioning, discharging and recharging equally again. So no more concerns over lack of power, which means we can have music again!!

As a side note, some of us can charge our iPods from Power Monkeys (portable solar chargers) we can have on deck, but unfortunately not all our iPods are compatible with the Power Monkeys, so music has been scarce for the last few weeks – I have no idea what I’ve been thinking about nor what we have talked about for that time, but some how we managed even when it was during the difficult conditions.

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7 Comments

  1. Andy says:

    Glad to hear about the power issue being resolved.
    I may not comment everyday, but I want you to know your blog is not just floating around in cyberspace, it is read by me everyday. It provides both information and inspiration, keep up the great effort.
    Andy x

  2. Same. Rarely comment but check on you fine ladies every day! Maybe 4 more days till feet dry and showers?

    – Rob

  3. Simon TY says:

    Parents to visit yesterday, so was bit busy. Great blog L. If you are trying to show what can be done with a little (sic) perspiration and imagination, then WWTW could not have better ambassadors and inspiration. I can see a whole series of talks from you guys, bringing tears to eyes, and a room full of people saying “I CAN do it”

  4. Doris is sitting on Samoa on the tracking map…..so tantalising close……..just under 200 nmiles!!!!!!

    Come on wind, blow these four amazing girls straight into Apia and to a wonderful reception they so deserve.

  5. JG says:

    Prince Harry, patron of WWTW, also has a major input in keeping the charity in the public eye promoting the cause at every opportunity. Much admired and respected by service personnel both male and female.. A chip off his mother’s block I feel.

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