Update from a ’22 Alumnus Grant Recipient

Lovely surprise update from a ’22 Alumnus Grant Recipient!

Update from a '22 Alumnus Grant Recipient

Kirstie McPherson, who successfully applied to the Bader Grant Scheme to help with purchasing a battery for her wheelchair contacted us to say what a difference this had made to her life.
Kirstie who is a para dressage and endurance rider, is an inspiration and sums up what the grant scheme is all about. Despite her own physical challenges, she is attempting to raise funds for the Air Ambulance, which has come to the rescue of her friend, also a para rider, more than once. To do this she is undertaking a sponsored swim. When you read her story below, you’ll realise quite what an incredible achievement this would be and if you visit Kirstie’s blog via the link below this post, you will learn how much of a physical challenge this sponsored swim will present.

Update from a ’22 Alumnus Grant Recipient – Para equestrian Kirstie McPherson

I would like to thank you all for the gift of a new wheelchair battery a year ago. It gave me the means to get out and about after major surgery. I’m a para rider but have been unable to ride due to surgery this year so far, my mare has just had her foal and am bringing my other mare back into work so we can continue raising money for the air ambulance trust. It’s also enabled me to get back in the pool so I can do a sponsored swim. Just a couple of months ago I was only able to swim with a pool noodle. Next month I’m swimming a mile for the air ambulance. The battery has enabled me to continue pushing on after my body has taken a hit physically and I need my chair to get around. I’m hoping to get back between the white boards later this year in para dressage and out on the endurance field as a para too. Thank you for all you do x.”
I may never run but when I ride my horse is my legs – Bader Grant Recipient Kirstie McPherson
Kirstie’s sponsored swim will take place on the 14th June, when she will swim a mile to raise funds for the Cornish Air Ambulance. If you’d like to sponsor her on this brave challenge for such a good cause, please follow the link at the bottom of this post.

Raising funds for the Cornwall Air Ambulance +

“The air ambulance has saved one of my closest friends more than once. She’s a para rider but now sadly may not ride again. In Cornwall our air ambulance is funded solely by donations which is why I love raising money for them. We did a sponsored ride across Dartmoor a few years ago on a horse I had to break. I did a ride before that to raise money for a defribrillator for our local riding centre and after that a second ride for the air ambulance. Am hoping if I can get going again with my beautiful giraffe Mimi we can do our next moorland challenge in September. But we didn’t want to hang around so did the swim challenge. I have a blog. The wonky zebra, beautiful giraffe and pony pals where I do all my fundraising and educate people on disability, ehlers danlos and living your best life. And have written a book for children which once can get it printed I hope to go into schools to educate young children on disability, the loneliness to the disabled person and how they can be included and how as a disabled person you can find ways to fulfill your dreams. I may never run but when I ride my horse is my legs. My wheelchair will be a major help with achieving my mission to working with schools.”
Update from a '22 Alumnus Grant Recipient
Kirstie’s beautiful photograph of her mare, Connie, with newborn foal
I decided as at that point I couldn’t get on a horse for a while so I would train for a sponsored swim.
The above statement perfectly sums up Kirstie’s fighting spirit!

Kirstie in her own words

“I’m Kirstie I’m a grade 2 para dressage rider and a para endurance rider. I have ehlers danlos, dystonia, hip dysplasia, bulging discs in my lower spine, Hoshimotos and suffer hemiplegic migraine. The combination of my medical diagnosis means my mobility can range from wobbling around holding furniture on a good day to being blind or paralysed. My disability means that I have had many operations and still have more to go. Which means more time in the wheelchair for recovery. At a time of need when my leg literally fell off. Full dislocation to my hip when stood talking to someone, and as I fell to the ground my leg swung backwards. I was super lucky to be helped by a number of military charities to buy an all terrain chair. A fantastic bit of kit but it’s maintenance and batteries don’t come cheap sadly. In 2022 I approached the Douglas bader foundation to ask if they could help me fund a new battery for my wheelchair. My wheelchair isn’t just s means to get me from a to b but it’s central to me enjoying family time with my kids , doing activities I once took for granted that I could easily do. Now only possible with the chair. It’s enabled me to compete in para dressage and endurance and to train and complete charity rides to raise money for the Cornwall air ambulance trust. Following surgery in November my chair was my only form of getting around for some time. I decided as at that point I couldn’t get on a horse for s while so I would train for a sponsored swim. I went from swimming with a pool noodle a  few months ago to building up lengths so we can swim a mile on 14th June for the Cornwall air ambulance trust. My wheelchair has been amazing for after my swims as I push my body beyond what it can deal with so walking is often tough if I can even stand when I leave the pool. Being helped by amazing charities didn’t just help me physically but mentally as well. It changed my view of my disability. I knew that things weren’t going to be the same after my accident but how I viewed what I could do changed. I decided one thing I could do with my disability was to do challenges for charities and I also wrote a children’s book to help educate young children on disabilities it’s awaiting final touches before it goes to print . Being showed compassion at s time of real need changed my focus on what I thought was important in life and I realised that helping others made me feel I had a purpose. I can not thank the Douglas bader foundation enough for the help they gave me to keep me mobile and keep me pushing on with all aspects of my life. Their help means so much to many. X”
I feel very lucky to be part of the para community. It’s led me to amazing sports and met amazing people. I wish more disciplines would take a look at the para community and see where they are going wrong with their competitiveness
It was wonderful to receive this update from a ’22 Alumnus Grant Recipient. We are so proud to have been able to help this extraordinarily courageous woman on her journey and to learn of the all she has done to help other people living with disabilities. When so many of us complain of trivial things and procrastinate, it can be a very valuable kick up the backside to hear of someone not only facing their challenges head on but facing them in order to benefit others.  One large order of humble pie, please…
Thank you, Kirstie, for your kind words about the Foundation. and for all you do for others – you are an inspiration and an example to us all. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for you on the 14th June. Please let us know how you get on. And, please, anyone reading this, support this heroic challenge for a very worthy cause…

Update from a '22 Alumnus Grant Recipient

The Cornwall Air Ambulance

We provide critical care to seriously sick and injured people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Responding to over 1,000 missions annually, our crew is here at a critical time when every second matters. Operating with no direct government support towards running costs, we rely on the generosity of people like you to keep us flying 365 days a year.

Taking to the skies in 1987, Cornwall Air Ambulance was the very first air ambulance in the UK. We have since completed more than 32,000 missions, with that number increasing every day. Given the county’s isolated beaches, rural settlements and challenging road networks, our service is vital to the residents that live here and the tourists that visit Cornwall.

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