by Ian Douglas

I have come to love my weekly mentoring visits to Talbot and feel humbled to have been acknowledged for my part in promoting a positive difference to the lives of early SCI patients. Receiving the Nigel Steel Award and having my efforts to encourage independence and resilience recognised motivates me to continue and improve the outcomes for others. It also validates the worthiness of the program. 

Following my spinal injury in 2019 there were many times when I found it difficult to see a future, to imagine how I would fit in and what post injury life would look like. 

The opportunity to meet with mentors who had been through similar experiences and chat about the practicalities of life after rehab give me enormous hope. Hearing from those with lived experience and learning more about possibilities was very encouraging. Re entering the world post injury was challenging and covid lockdown came within weeks of my discharge.

Ian Douglas receives the Nigel Steele Award from CEO Peter Trethewey.

Fortunately I could still attend therapy and work on both my physical and mental health with help from therapists, carers and family, but I missed the camaraderie and connection of people living with similar issues and a sense of belonging that had given me. Joining the team of volunteers at AQA and having the opportunity to be supported as well as support others in their journey to recovery and beyond is incredibly rewarding. 

I hope my skills and previous work experience in communication are of benefit to those I meet. Helping others brings personal satisfaction and seeing someone’s recovery advance and others becoming more positive about their future is wonderful.

Even if discussions are not profound, sharing ideas, experiences and suggestions can make the world of difference. There is nothing more powerful than talking to someone who really understands and has ‘walked in your shoes’……or rolled in your wheels! 

The mentoring experience provides a chance to reflect on my own progress and help rebuild my confidence as well as provide a valuable sense of worthiness. I enjoy the individual one on one discussions but also find group sessions incredibly valuable as we can all learn from each other.

  • January 18, 2024

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