Hi my name is Lee, I’m an archer and Handcyclist and I am the Inclusion Co-ordinator at the Brentwood Centre.
I was forced to leave the Royal Navy in 1999 after three years of service with a back issue and unexplained numbness on the left side of my body. Over a number of years my condition deteriorated. I now have a diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalopathy, known as ME, and Fibromyalgia, a long-term condition which causes pain all over the body amongst other associated illnesses.
I struggled to adjust to civilian life and to cope with the pain and stiffness. I had always loved archery as a child and decided to join a local archery club. Picking up the bow relaxed me, I felt at peace for the first time in a very long time.
I require a wheelchair to collect my arrows, which military charity Help for Heroes funded. The charity also funded training to become a Personal Trainer via the InstructAbility scheme and got me my job at The Brentwood Centre as an inclusion co-ordinator. I’m proud to be able to support others living with disabilities to get involved in sport.
I’m qualified as a Archery GB Instructor and Cycling Coach with British Cycling, my journey has been unbelievable. It’s been a bad road but archery gave me my life back. Sport is key to recovery. No matter how I’m feeling, it’s all gone when I pick up my bow and reach for my next arrow.
I am also a very keen handcyclist and to help raise funds for Help for Heroes and thank them for their support, I will take part in a 1,400 mile handcycle from John O’Groats, in Scotland, to Land’s End, Cornwall, May 2017.