Robin was a busy full-time worker, enjoying his career and lifestyle, when his life changed dramatically due to medical issues. Here, he tells us how being a VV has helped give him a sense of purpose, and explores what he’s gained from the programme…
In 2019, I was a busy Operations Manager for a logistics company. I worked long hours every day but loved my job and enjoyed my busy life.
Out of the blue, I was admitted to the hospital with sepsis, the source of which was unknown. After a while, a blister developed on my foot and within no time at all, several toes died, and I was admitted to ICU and half my foot was removed. Sadly, this did not solve the issue and a week later I had my right leg below the knee amputated. My life as I knew it had changed forever.
But it did not end there. I then got an infection in my left leg, and had it amputated a short time after. I was now facing life as a bilateral amputee and needed more suitable accommodation. So, after spending 8 months in hospital waiting, I ended up relocating out of area where I didn’t know anyone. In just a few short months, my life had completely changed.
During my first visit to my limb fitting centre, I met an LA staff member who was there holding a hub. He told me about the VV programme and suggested I get involved. At this point, I had left work and was looking for a new sense of purpose. So, I enquired and joined the programme in 2021.
I really enjoyed the VV training, particularly meeting other amputees, sharing stories, and making new friends. The LA staff were helpful, and I learnt a lot of new skills that I could use in the role.
The best thing about being a VV is when you get positive feedback from service users. Just knowing you have made a difference in their lives, and you’ve helped them to cope with their limb loss journey, is very rewarding.
Peer support is really important – just being able to talk to someone who understands the issues you face is powerful. I didn’t really get this in my own journey and think that it’s critical.
Being a VV has made me realise that I can listen and have empathy with others. I never realised I had this ability until I did this role – in some ways, losing my legs has also given me new realisations.
I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of applying for the VV role to do so. You get to meet other amputees, hear their stories, and make new connections.
These days, I also volunteer for several other organisations as well as the VV role, so my weeks are filled and busy once again. Last year I took part in the LA’s SuperHero Tri event, walking 1km on my new legs. In 2023, I’m hoping to complete a wing walk for the LA – so it’s safe to say, life is on the up!