I sustained my spinal cord injury in a bad motorcycle accident when I was 27.  I have always been into motorcycling.  It was my main hobby, and still is.  I ride an adapted trike nowadays and I am always out and about.  At the time, I was a self-employed roof joiner at the time, I really enjoyed it but I couldn’t continue it.

After my accident I felt really numb, both physically and emotionally. It took a long time for it all to sink in that my life had totally changed. Being in the Spinal Injury Centre kind of shielded me from the reality of my injury’s full impact because I don’t think it’s possible to totally understand how life has changed until you’re discharged and trying to make your way in the world again.

I never actually felt like my life was over, because of the support I had, but I do remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to cope, mainly because I thought I wouldn’t be able to get on a bike again.  But I was wrong.

Mark on his adapted trike-motorbike

My injury had a massive impact on my family, as we are very close.  My parents and sister visited me all the time, but I think they took the news harder than me as it took them longer to come to terms with it.  We pulled through it as a family supporting each other. We all made sure we spoke about everything, even the difficult and uncomfortable stuff like when I was feeling really down.

As far as my friends were concerned, it had a bad effect on the friend that I was riding with on the day of my accident.  He actually gave up motorcycling and never went back to it.

I contacted Aspire’s Welfare Benefits team because I needed help with DLA and PIP.  They were extremely helpful.  Their assistance with invaluable all the way through because, to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing as the form was overwhelming.  I probably could have given it a go on my own, but it wouldn’t have been as good. I wouldn’t have included a lot of what they did because I didn’t think a lot of it was important.

With Aspire’s help, I was awarded PIP at the Enhanced rate for both the Daily Living and Mobility components - a weekly income of £145.35.  PIP enables me to be more independent as it meets some of the extra costs my family needs. If we didn’t have this benefit it would affect the family unit because I sometimes have to have time off work due to my spinal cord injury. I have a Motability vehicle and thanks to receiving PIP, I’m able to keep my car. Losing it would be devastating.  We would not be able to fund another vehicle and I would lose so much independence because I would probably hardly ever leave the house.  Thanks to Aspire, I can enjoy spending time with my wife, dogs and riding my specially adapted motorcycle. 

Mark with his dog in woods

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