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Myelopathy Community Champions

Frank was diagnosed with Myelopathy in 2015. Prior to that his life had been driven by sport, mainly encouraged by his Granddad. He played both football and Ice-hockey at an early age, and the latter for a living. However, a severe knee injury forced him to hang up his boots. He continued to be involved in sport, taking on the role of a football goalkeeping coach, working with all age groups in both Milton Keynes and Bedford. An innocuous dive for a ball during a coaching session in September 2008 however, changed his life drastically. This fall lead to Chronic Pain Syndrome which due to the damage done to his nerve endings, would remain for the rest of his life. Frank found going from being so physically active to not being able to move without pain very hard to accept especially given that it was coupled with having to endure being pushed around in a wheelchair.

Frank’s wife has helped him deal with these emotions and in 2010 she encouraged him to enrol on an Access Course at Bedford College with a view to training as a Primary School Teacher. Frank went on to study at the University of Bedfordshire for a BA Early Years Education. Whilst at university he became a Course Rep, a PAL leader and also volunteered as a Student Ambassador. These roles helped him gain confidence which lead to him become a mentor for disabled students. In January 2016 Frank took on another role caring for disabled students and was instrumental in starting a student society called PAMMS, for parents and mature students.

In the August 2016 Frank had an ACDF to repair his C4/5 discs. A further MRI scan in March 2017 showed that Frank needed more surgery to repair things. He is now well on the road to recovery although he knows that his surgery was for prevention rather than cure despite that he is now looking forward to the future with confidence. Frank joined the Myelopathy Support Group and found it to be such a great support to himself and his wife. However, he wanted to be involved further and so has taken on the role of Community Champion. He hopes that he can help to spread the word and begin to help people to understand the condition and thus give support to both sufferers and their loved ones.