Spencer on the power of sports recovery and playing Goalball with the All Blacks
You have been part of Supporting Wounded Veterans Ski Week, can you tell us how and why you got involved?
I was lucky enough to participate in the the 2017 Support Wounded Veterans (SWV) Ski Week in Klosters, Switzerland. I knew of the Charity through my job in the Army and also hearing from others who had attended the week in previous years.
Prior to being a wheelchair user I had been a very keen skier including working for 2 winter seasons in the Alps. I did not think I would ever get back onto the snow until I saw the possibilities available using a Mono (sit) Ski. The time was right for me to give it a go - I am so glad I did. Great skiing, great people and a chance to reconnect with other veterans. But it was not just the skiing, critically, there was another reason - the provision of a Mentor after the ski week. My Mentor has been extremely helpful in so many ways, but not least as someone else in my Support Network. Awesome!
You were at AIG's Goalball event with The All Blacks recently, what was it like to be a part of that?
Through SWV and The Endeavour Fund I became aware of the amazing offer to play Goalball with the All Blacks. I put my name forward and was selected. What an incredible experience. Meeting some of the players from the All Blacks and engaging in competitive sport (clearly we were all on a level playing field!) with them was incredible. They were truly interested in our experiences and it was very evident that the whole day was of benefit to everyone who participated. And to leave with a signed rugby ball - chuffed to bits!
How has getting involved in sports & challenging events helped your recovery?
Sport had always been part of my life but something I considered no longer possible. How wrong could I be and I am now a strong believer of Sport in Recovery. Having started with the SWV Ski trip, I have continued to participate in adaptive sport and competed in Chicago at the 2017 WARRIOR Games for WIS soldiers. I did not believe I could do this and really surprised myself when I returned with 4 medals.
How has the support from your friends, family or community helped you?
Having a strong Support Network is essential to everyone in the WIS community. Individual journeys will vary, but in general there will always be highs and lows. Having family, friends and community around you really helps on your recovery pathway. I certainly could not have achieved without their help. I must say 'Thank you' to them all.
What would you say to other Wounded, Injured and Sick servicemen who are considering getting involved in a challenging endeavour?
It's really simple - 'Give it a Try! No one will judge, and you will feel better for it. Good luck!