Faces of the Ad: Marc’s Story
Marc, one of the stars of our launch advert, tells his Parasport story.
When the opportunity came up to do the advert something went off in my mind and I kept thinking ‘where have I seen that before?’
That logo and the name and everything. It all seemed so familiar.
Then I remembered that I’d gone onto the old Parasport website about ten years ago when I was looking for sport again after my amputation.
I saw there were clubs available but, if I’m honest, I didn’t have the confidence to go to a strange new place on my own, so I didn’t follow up. I didn’t do enough.
But for things to change you have to change.
For me, I got to a point where I was fed up and it was just by chance in the end that I got back into sport through a friend.
I’ve had a disability since I was very young, but I always played able-bodied sport and played table tennis to quite a high-level right into my 30s and 40s.
I have something called Olliers Disease, so my left leg was very much shorter than my right and my left arm is still very much shorter than my right and I’ve got little tumours throughout my body which are benign.
It was only in 2004 when one of tumours became cancerous that I had to lose the whole of my left leg.
I tried to get back to sport straight away but doing table tennis was difficult and, because of my prosthesis, I couldn’t play at the same level and kept falling over.
I didn’t really have a lot of confidence as an amputee, I became quite despondent towards sport in those first few years and gradually became more and more sedentary.
For years I didn’t do anything. It was all I could do to walk and, once I could walk, I had limitations with the leg. I didn’t really know what to do so I gave up a little bit.
Sport isn’t just about the physical, it’s about the mental as well so when I couldn’t do that anymore and didn’t have that outlet, it was a difficult one to accept that I couldn’t play my chosen sport again.
Five years after the amputation an organisation called LimbPower helped me and I saw what other sports were out there.
But it was still another three or four years before I really got going when I bumped into someone who played wheelchair sport and I thought ‘let’s give that a go’.
I absolutely loved it.
I was meeting people and getting out there again and I liked the competitive side of things as well.
I loved the feeling of getting fit and psychologically I felt like I was achieving something again which was important to me.
Now I am fitter than I’ve ever been in my life and I’m a qualified fitness instructor for able bodied and disabled people.
The thing that gave me the confidence was finding people local to me that were playing sport.
So, for anyone who checks Parasport and does what I did and doesn’t follow through I’d urge them to find that courage from somewhere to take that first step.
Yes, it’s scary.
But once you get there and step outside your comfort zone, it’s always a great environment.
Now it’s important to me that I use what happened and my experience to help other disabled people.
Physical activity has been a huge part of my life. I could have let the surgery and disability stop me – and I almost did – but I got back into it and did things that I never would have imagined.
And, if I hadn’t had the surgery, I would have missed out on meeting so many fantastic people and doing so many amazing things.