My story started in 2008. I was working on the A11 trading in a Snack Bar. After several months of growing severe bouts of pain in my head and neck, an MRI found a tumour the size of a golf ball at the base of my brain and going down my spine.
A few weeks later I was operated on at Addenbrookes University Hospital in Cambridge. My consultant Mr. Kirollos was unable to remove all the tumour, due to the likelihood of nerve damage, so I was left with about 10 - 20%. There is a possibility that it could start growing again but it hasn’t so far. I was however left with some nerve damage giving me symptoms such as, Balance Problems, Partial Paralysis down my right side, Altered Sensation down my left side, Numb Fingers and bad feelings in my head.
A year later I underwent Radio Therapy to reduce the size of the remaining tumour, which was partially successful. This however made a hole in my skull and I had to have it patched.
Recovery and Onward
My symptoms lessened over the next few years but never disappeared totally and I am now having some of them worsen again.
Following my convalescence I decided to take up photography as rehabilitation as far as my remaining disabilities allowed. This I managed to turn into a small part-time business (www.equus-imaging.com) but am only allowed to net £20 per week.
2016 Big Changes
Being overweight has always been a problem as long as I can remember. In 2016 I found a diet that not only suited me, but allowed me to lose nearly four stone (54 pounds), this I managed in time for my sixtieth birthday.
This was the catalyst that made me determined to make other major changes to my life. While watching the Rio Olympics and Paralympics I became determined to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics. Having dabbled in shooting earlier in my life but not progressing it any further than dabbling, I set myself the goal of shooting in the Air Pistol discipline in 2020.
Progress to Date
I have since used some of the money I received as a Pension Lump Sum to purchase a competition grade pistol and started training with a coach, at the South Norfolk Air Rifle & Pistol Club (Shootability Norfolk - a Charitable Company), to which I intend to donate 20% of any monies raised.
This is where my financial shortfall rears its ugly head. I am on a very limited income and have to fund myself, for at least two years, until I can obtain funding as part of the GB Shooting Team Program.
This necessitates my travelling to competitions, my first competition will be at the end of February at Bisley for the British National Championships, the entry fees for this comes to over £90, and doesn’t include accommodation.
Also attending regular training sessions at Stoke Mandeville (Disability Shooting Headquarters), training at the club as often as I can spare the time.
What would help
What would make life easier, is if I could find somewhere very near to me in Swardeston, Norwich, where I could set up a Target Range. Free use of a 15 x 3 metre indoor area would be ideal. The construction of a screened of area, shooting bench, lighting and a Target Holder System is necessary for this, so I would need £1000 - £1500 to set this up. To this end donation of equipment and screening materials would be greatly appreciated.
For travelling, accommodation, competition fees and training I estimate would cost me £9000 or more, over and above the setting up of a target range.
Don’t get me wrong, all this would not guarantee me a place on Team GB (you can't throw money at something like this and guarantee a result), or selection for International events but it would give me a very good fighting chance. I can assure you that this is not just a goal but a passion, which I intend to give it my all to achieve.