My name is Mark Riddington and I am the founding trustee of ATSGUK. My story begins in 2008. I was working in a property expanding the roof space and slipped trapping my left foot snapping my ankle. I was rushed into hospital and over the next 6 months I had operations to reconstruct my ankle. However, due to complications and infection the result was to amputate my left leg below the knee.
I went through all the emotions. How was I going to cope financially and mentally which was made worse as I was alone at this time. My mother had passed away and my dad and brother were living abroad. I had to sort out state benefits, which was something I had never done before, being self-employed and financially self-reliant. This became a complete mission. The mental stress was so hard for me and I was not given the support I really needed. Also, I had problems with the side effects of the medication which made me go into a very dark place at this time.
Being a very active person work wise and also competing in many sports I decided to research the web and I found a number of amputees who were getting such great advice and support. I managed to pull myself together returning back to work on a building site and I threw myself back into my sporting activities. I then started to help and inspire others who had suffered from an amputation and who were struggling with day to day life. I found that I gained a great deal of personal satisfaction by giving support and inspiration to others like me.
Then my world crashed again in 2012, I collapsed at work and woke up in hospital to my horror having undergone another amputation. This was due to a dormant infection and I was now an above the left knee amputee. However, this time I had the strength gained from my previous experience to pick myself up again. I was able to go back to work with confidence again. Yes, being an above the knee amputee on a construction site was a challenge, but I found the strength to excel and move on with my life.
This is when my angel arrived, my wife Beverley she was a senior carer and a counsellor. She accepted me with open arms and was my rock. Life was heavenly, we were living life to the full until one fateful day in May 2018, we decided to go for a drive on our motor trike when on the way home we were involved in a road accident. How my wife was not seriously hurt was a miracle. Unfortunately, in this accident I damaged my right knee. I spent 18 months having one operation after another which ultimately resulted in me having an above the right knee amputation.
However, this time I had Beverley to support me, so when I left hospital and went in to rehab I walked on stubbies after 2 days. I was discharged within 9 days after the amputation procedure and the hospital prosthetics department were amazing. I am now 55 years old walking unaided and I have now got some running blades too.
Yes, what a challenge, but it has helped us both to gain strengh by giving inspiration, guidance, support and advice to others like me who have suffered an amputation or been injured in a traumatic event at work or on the roads. This is when we decided to set this charity up and I passionately believe that the best medication is communication. So we hope you can see that we have the right qualities to help you from our own experience to make the most of your life even after suffering a traumatic injury.