Have you ever wondered, after a life changing injury like spinal cord injury how you would be able to carry on with your hobbies? Maybe you’re in a dark place mentally, and can’t for the life of you figure how you’re going to still enjoy all those things you like to do.
Meet Mark, a past tenant of Ethos and avid fisherman. After a motorcycle accident resulting in a complete T2 SCI leaving him paralysed, he completed his rehab in hospital and went to Ethos.
While there keen engineer Mark set about working out how he could carry on fishing now that he was in a wheelchair. He looked online for local fishing spots and stories of other wheelchair users who still fished.
“That gave me inspiration to get back out there,” he told Ethos.
“I’ve been fishing since I was kid with my family. I remember catching my first fish and slipping on a cow-pat in excitement,” he smiled.
Mark said that he had been fishing ever since - for over thirty years. So, this was not a hobby he was going to give up easily.
Eighteen months after his injury, Mark went fishing for the first time. “It was the first time I looked at it practically”, he said. From there he figured out what he needed to do to carry on his hobby.
With some research and his know-how as an engineer, Mark started making adaptions to a fishing chair making it more stable when transferring and putting in retractable armrests to make transferring much easier.
But there was also the issue of his fishing gear and moving it from his car. For a while Mark would (and still does) go fishing with his brother but, like most wheelchair users, he still had a yearning for more independence.
So he designed and built a trolley for all his fishing gear from scratch. He ordered the parts he needed online as well as the tools he wanted and turned his spare room at home into a workshop.
From there he began piecing together what would become a very practical and easy to handle trolley, measured to the right height for Mark and light enough so that he could get it in and out of his car. Mark put it all together by himself over a few weeks.
Now that Mark had everything he needed, all that was left to do was find a good spot for fishing. That meant finding local venues that were wheelchair accessible, had level pathways that were wide enough, and accessible fishing pegs.
“These were the essentials”, he said.
Hodnet Angling advertises wheelchair accessible venues and when Mark went there for the first time, he was able to learn about other places to fish through word of mouth on the banks.
It’s now been several years since that first fishing trip with his brother and the two go all over Shropshire to fish proving that being paralysed isn’t the end of fishing with a bit of readjustment and research.
To anyone who wants to get back into their hobbies, whatever that may be, Mark had this to say: “Give it a try, don’t let the fear overcome your will to try.” Very wise words.
And did his time at Ethos help Mark with his adjustment to life in a wheelchair?
“Yeah, it was good being around people with similar experiences. Everyone there keeps pushing you to do well and keep you motivated,” he said.
So don’t give up on what you love doing. It’s absolutely worth the effort.
Ethos is currently recruiting new trustees and is particularly keen to welcome wheelchair users. For further information see the Ethos Group website at www.ethoscharity.co.uk or contact us by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 01691 404359.
Even if you cannot help us as a trustee, please help us spread the word about the work we do to support our clients to live independently after suffering a life-changing injury or illness by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter and LinkedIn at ethosgrouposwestry.