"There has been an accident at home.” That’s what my boss said when he knocked on my door early one morning in April 2012. I was in the Falklands with the RAF working as an aircraft engineer. I didn’t know the details and was on automatic, flying home to be with Sally and our two children, Rosie, 18, and Ross, 15."
Sally, who was a midwife, had fallen off her horse and hit her head badly. When she woke up from an induced coma she was very confused and had lost her sight.
It was a horrendous time. I was doing a 100-mile round trip to the hospital in Nottingham and, one day, I found a postcard from IET Connect in the pile of post. I’d been an IET member since 2011 and called the number. I said ‘What’s IET Connect?’ Cathie, my case worker, was the person I spoke to. She put me at ease and found out what I needed. Sometimes, as a man, you feel you shouldn’t get help from anyone, but you have to be honest with yourself if you really do need help.
IET Connect gave us a £1,000 grant for travel to the hospital. That really got us through as money was just draining out in those early days which were so difficult. I built up a shopping list of items that would help Sally have as much independence as possible when she came home. We got her a talking cross-trainer for exercising, a label system so she could choose her clothes, kitchen equipment, a laptop and mobile phone.
IET Connect gave us £6,000 to pay for these things which are helping Sally regain her confidence and independence. Without them, there's no way she would be as far along as she is now. I’m so grateful for their support. She still struggles immensely with the head injury and living with sight loss is a massive issue every day. But she has started to go to the gym and hopes to do a course in massage and therapy in September.
I'd tell anybody to join IET for the professional recognition but also to have that safety net of IET Connect. They tap into what you need, whether it’s financial or emotional support or help with your daily living. If you support IET Connect you really would be genuinely helping someone out.”