Wounded veteran to take on gruelling 200 mile tricycle challenge
- Credit: Help for Heroes
A team of wounded veterans are cycling 200 miles to raise vital funds to help others dealing with injuries or illnesses.
David Rose, 51, a former aircraft engineer in the RAF from Downham Market, is one of a team of six wounded veterans that use cycling to help overcome a variety of mental and physical health challenges ranging from PTSD, spinal injuries, arm paralysis to chronic illnesses.
The 'Heroes Team' veterans, will be cycling Help for Heroes' Ride 200 and are urging others to saddle up to raise funds for fellow wounded and sick veterans this June.
Mr Rose, who will be taking on the challenge on his recumbent trike, has found cycling to be a form of therapy after being left in "a dark place" following 31 years of service in the RAF.
The 51-year-old, who joined the RAF on September 16, 1986, has been left with a limited range of movement after breaking his collar bone while on duty in 2009, which resulted in his right arm, hand and shoulder being partially paralysed due to nerve damage in his shoulder. He describes his arm as a "paperweight with a working thumb".
His injuries took away his ability to do adventurous and sporting activities he loved while in the RAF, where he enjoyed activities such as running, swimming, triathlon and climbing.
Mr Rose, a qualified mountain leader and mountain bike instructor, was medically discharged in February 2018.
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He now works in the charity sector and has a spinal cord stimulator fitted to help control pain and spasms and wears an orthosis and a sling during active sports. Mr Rose also needs strong medication to deal with complex regional pain syndrome.
And through Help for Heroes events and other military charities he was able to "regain belief" in himself after his mental and physical health declined, and began to adapt to the change of circumstances.
He first started riding a recumbent trike as part of a recovery course when he was struggling to come to terms with his injuries.
He said: “When I got on a trike it was one of the first things I found I could do without too much pain.
"Once I got my own trike it didn’t take long to get the hang of it and now you can’t stop me."
He has since competed in triathlons, the 2018 Warrior Games, UK Invictus Trials in 2019 and other extreme challenges.
He met his "incredible" wife Sadie in Norwich and married in 1994 and the pair have a son called Harry.
Heroes Team members are currently taking part in the challenge until the end of June and hope they will be able to meet up for a finale to the challenge on June 30.
Help for Heroes said while 200 miles is a challenging distance for most weekend cyclists, it can be a huge individual challenge for many veterans who have been injured or become ill as a result of their time in the Armed Forces.
Mr Rose said it was important to spread awareness of adapting to life-changing injuries or illnesses among all communities, including the veterans, and urged people to "ask for help, make friendships and join groups."
He added: "I could have given up and let it beat me but some pretty influential people in my life, specifically when I was low, encouraged me to not accept the disability as being the end of things and to look at it as an opportunity to do things differently.
"I seek to give someone going through a tough time a bit of hope that things can be different."
People are being encouraged to join in fundraising efforts for wounded and sick veterans and be part of Heroes Ride 200.
The charity experienced a 65pc loss to its income due to the pandemic despite demand for its services going up.
To sign up to Heroes Ride 200 visit heroesride.helpforheroes.org.uk