I am so thankful for attending the Multi Activity Course (MAC) delivered by the BattleBack Centre. The MAC is part of the Defence Recovery Programme that ensures wounded, injured and sick personnel have access to the key SERVICES and RESOURCES needed to help them either return to duty or make a smooth transition into a civilian life. It also allows personnel to try adaptive sports and push boundaries. For me I never thought would be able to take part in activities like rock climbing and archery but the MAC allowed me to overcome the challenges and enhanced my recovery dramatically.
I was very nervous when I arrived at the centre. My anxiety was through the roof but the friendly staff on arrival soon put me at ease. The room I was allocated during my time at the centre was beautiful it was very much like a hotel not like the accommodation I have become accustom to when I have attended courses previously with the military. After the initial introductions myself and the other battlebackers were split into our groups and assigned out mentors for the duration of the course.
The week was intense and full of activity set to challenge and push people. One of the hardest things for me was getting back into a routine. Especially waking up early, early enough to go on a morning walk around the grounds of Lilleshall before breakfast was rather difficult. The first activity of the week and the 'icebreaker' was wheelchair basketball and my god did that open my eyes to how amazingly talented the ladies and gents that compete in this sport are. IT IS NOT EASY! I played basketball and netball at high school very well and thought this would be easy. NOPE! I found that its a lot harder than it looks and the nets are the same height and the time penalties in side the key are the same.
I was very anaemic when I was on this course and the week previous, I had to be given 2 units of blood via a transfusion so some of the activities I did find a real struggle. The hardest was the indoor caving and rock climbing at Wolf Mountain but I made myself a promise at the beginning of the course to try everything and push myself within reason.
The guys I met on the course are awesome and I am still in touch with a few and its great to see how they are doing after the course. Some have left the service and a few have returned to work like myself. It was amazing to see how total strangers at the beginning of the course could gel and develop friendships away from the centre. I have since returned to the centre to talk to fellow BattleBackers about how the course helped me get into shooting and inspire them to use the resources and the wider programmes that are available to them. The MAC is just the beginning in helping WIS soldiers and you get out what you put into the course. I went there with a positive attitude and a willingness to try everything that was put on offer. Moral was high when I left the centre and my belief that I can do things despite my obstacles was strong. This may have been the first step in getting back on track but as they say sometimes the first step its the biggest and most difficult one to take. It certainly gave me the kick start I needed to get my life back on track.