Royal Marine amputee Mark Ormrod's 4 steps to recovery
"After being told I’d spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, failure just wasn’t an option...I was going to walk again no matter how difficult or painful it was going to be."
As Marine Commando and Afghanistan veteran, Mark Ormrod, celebrates 10 years of defying the odds and leaving the confines of his wheelchair behind, this British hero today reveals the key learnings that have changed his life, and saved his life - building blocks for all those conquering adversity:
- If you’re in a bad situation you have to take responsibility for it because no one is going to help you get out of it except yourself.
- See the situation for what it is and always identify the positives, dwelling on the negatives won’t help you one bit.
- You have to set yourself achievable goals so that success and progress aren’t impossibly out of reach.
- Break your goal down. When I was learning to walk again I broke my recovery down into small chunks. Taking one step further than the day before was a milestone, an achievement, something to build on."
It was Christmas Eve, 2007, when Mark's life changed forever. Out on a routine patrol whilst on tour in Afghanistan, Mark prepared to provide cover for fellow Marines. As he kneeled down his weight triggered an Improvised Explosive Device concealed in the earth. The impact was devastating leaving surgeons with no option but to amputate both legs above the knee, and his right arm above the elbow. At the time he was told by a leading specialist that he would never walk again.
The 35-year-old from Plymouth admits that he was faced with two choices, ‘to curl up in a ball, accept defeat and fade away, or to man-up and get better as quickly as possible.’ “I remember the day I was told that I’d never walk again, and yes, I did suffer dark moments of desperation and despair, but when I stopped sulking and feeling sorry for myself I realised that I had so much to live and be thankful for,” said Mark.
“From that moment my every thought, movement and plan was focussed on my recovery and building the best version of myself that I possibly could.” Just 18 months after he was injured, Mark stood up and walked away from his wheelchair for good. It was June 9th, 2009 and he says that it was the day he ‘took back control of his life’ and admits that it’s a life that’s been far better than he ever imagined it would be after he first got injured.
“Being a full-time prosthetic user people often ask me about my road to recovery and what it’s taken to do the things that I have, such as represent my country at two Invictus Games,” Mark continued. “There are so many different processes and factors that have contributed and I’d bore people to death if I took them through every rehab or session of intensive physiotherapy that I’ve been through. I’m not going to go on and on.
"The first 24 hours without my wheelchair was a big achievement for me, then a week passed. Before I knew it, I’d done a year without my wheelchair and I thought ‘oh my god,’ or words to that effect, ‘there are no limits here.' Here I am just over 10 years down the line and I’m still putting these methods into practice in order to face the next challenge I set myself, while constantly striving to become a better man, husband and father."
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