Frank spent 27 years working in the Navy as a Marine Engineer. He sadly lost his leg due to diabetes, years after his service ended. In his hour of need, he found Blesma, The Limbless Veterans Charity. A Charity which supports serving and ex-serving veterans who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the loss of use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight. Blesma support for life.
As a way to give back to the charity that provided life changing support, Frank plays make a smile lottery. A weekly fundraising lottery that gives Blesma a valuable income that they can rely on. A lifeline at a time when costs are skyrocketing. Frank explains his story and how giving back in this way makes him feel like he is making a real difference.
“I am a sixty-year-old ex-Royal Navy Chief Artificer (Marine Engineer), I left the Navy after 27 years in 2008 and became a building services engineer. I now work as a Senior technical manager.
Since leaving the Navy, I have undergone a change in my outlook. Whilst I was serving, my service was paramount. I was so proud to wear the uniform, and to have got to the pinnacle of my branch was very fulfilling. Since leaving I have witnessed civilian life does not have the same camaraderie and care for your fellow man and woman, but the military community keeps you level-headed. I am very lucky to have a wonderfully supportive wife, family and friends, some of whom I served with. I have leaned on them a lot over the last few years.”
As Frank got older, he experienced numerous health issues, which he struggled with.
“Since hitting the magical number of 55 I have experienced a few setbacks. I played a lot of Rugby whilst serving, which resulted in me breaking my neck twice, so I have had to have that fused. In 2019 I had a heart attack and was fitted with seven stents, which left me feeling quite broken. Then only a year later I had a triple by-pass.”
Not wanting to let these setbacks get him down, he decided to challenge himself by completing the London to Brighton off road bike ride. Only 9 months after his operation he completed this incredible challenge to give back to those who helped him.
“After the operation, I recovered and wanted to give back to the people who saved my life. 9 months after my operation, I completed the London to Brighton off road.”
Frank later began to experience problems with his foot. Due to his diabetes, a wound on his foot wouldn’t heal, so he took the decision to have this right leg amputated below the knee.
“After what seemed an age of treatment, pain and not being able to sleep for months it was decided to remove my right leg below the knee. Diabetes is not nice. However, I now feel amazing and ready to go again.”
The prospect of losing your leg is a scary one. So, Frank prepared for the operation, he investigated different support options that were available to him.
“I had researched Blesma because I was a veteran. I found out that they support veterans even if you did not lose your limb whilst in service. Since joining Blesma, I have had fantastic support, help and advice. They helped me get back on the bike so to speak. There was even talk of diving again. But, once I am back in the running with golf and cycling I will be attending events.”
Having someone to hold your hand through such a life changing event is a life saver. To know that you have support beside you every step of the way makes a massive difference.
As a way to say thank you to Blesma for the incredible support they have provided, Frank wanted to give back on a regular basis. By playing the make a smile lottery to support them each week, he is able give back an amount that doesn’t break the bank.
“I have decided to play the lottery to help fellow veterans who need assistance with every aspect of their lives. They deserve to be supported because they gave so much to their country and now it is time to support them.”
Frank encourages everyone to play the lottery to support Blesma, so that they can continue their vital work.
If you want to find out more about Blesma and the support they provide, visit their website below.
Or you can sign up to play the lottery, just like Frank, and do something good today.