Our lives can change in an instant. A fall. A diagnosis. A phone call.
For Mark Ormrod, it was when he knelt on an improvised explosive device whilst serving as a Royal Marine in Afghanistan in 2007. One second, he was on a patrol, the next he had suffered catastrophic injuries that resulted in him losing both his legs above the knee and his right arm at the shoulder. A life changing injury from which he was lucky to survive.
Stories of incredible bravery and survival rarely reflect the harsh realities of those who lived through them. We often like to ignore the darker truth. After his repatriation to the UK, Mark endured unimaginable mental and physical pain. He lay in bed for weeks, suffering from the emotional impact of what had happened and questioning whether he could carry on. He was told at just 24 years old that he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Ormrod’s rehabilitation was not the result of an unquestioning and indomitable mindset, as we so often like to ascribe to others. That came later. The journey began by confronting his darkest visions of the future; a hard-won battle that taught him that he could adapt, and he could learn. He set out to make the very best of his life, no matter what challenges he faced. It was only then that his ‘no-limits’ mindset was really born.
Just fourteen weeks after his triple amputation, Ormrod walked across the parade grounds on new prosthetics to collect his Operational Service Medal. He has been independent of a wheelchair since 2009. In 2010 he ran 3,563 miles across the US in a relay event which took him 63 days. He has hand-cycled around the UK. He has won a total of 11 medals in the Invictus Games, including four gold medals.
Trauma and tragedy can impact us all. The only choice we have is how we respond.
We have so many more stories to tell from some of the most inspiring and iconic people on earth. Some you will know, some you won’t. All are special.
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