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Within a year I’d learned to walk using prosthetics and then found myself sit-skiing in Colorado on a Blesma rehabilitation break. It was awesome. Just great to get out of hospital and be with a group of people in the same circumstances; guys who’d lost arms and legs in action just like me. It made me feel normal again.

Mark Ormrod was just 17 years old when he joined the Royal Marines. He was just under four months into the tour of duty in Afghanistan when on Christmas Eve, he stepped on an IED landmine which blew up in front of him. 

“Kezia was just two-years old when I was posted to Afghanistan. Even though her mum and I weren’t together at the time, I still remember saying goodbye to her before I left. About three months into the posting we were on a routine patrol when there was a huge explosion. I thought we had come under attack but as I tried to compose myself in preparation for fighting off the attack I realised I wasn’t moving. Then as the sand and the dust settled, I looked down and I realised I’d stepped on a landmine – both of my legs were gone. I was in shock and battered but my head was clear. Kezia was going to be 3-years old in exactly a month’s time. I had no doubt I would see her next birthday. I knew I could get back to her. I just didn’t know what state I would be in.”

Mark ended up losing both of his legs above the knee and his right arm in the blast. He was evacuated back to the UK straight away. When he finally managed to regain consciousness he found Becky, his then girlfriend, who was right beside his bedside. It was at this point that Mark asked her to marry him and she said yes.

Shortly after, Mark was approached by one of the Support Officers at Blesma who told him all about what Blesma do and how they would be able to help him.  Mark was made aware that he wasn’t alone in his horrific situation and that Blesma were there to help him in whichever way he needed. They explained that there was life after Amputation and that there were lots of other guys out there who were getting on with their lives and doing remarkable things.

Mark listened carefully to the Blesma Officer. It gave him motivation and he decided that he wasn’t going to let his injuries get the better of him. As difficult as it was, he prepared himself mentally for a road to recovery. He remained positive and set himself a goal which was to master the use of prosthetic legs so that he could receive his campaign medals standing up. And so he did. Just five months later although with painful and swollen wounds, he managed to walk with crutches and received his medal at an official Royal Marines ceremony.

“I didn’t want to be an embarrassment to Kezia or a burden to my new fiancée, Becky. I used that as my motivation to regain my independence and push myself as hard as I could so they would be proud of me.”

Mark was introduced to rehabilitation activities by Blesma. The rehabilitation was what would get Mark through his lowest times. Within the first year of his traumatic incident, he made it to Colorado on a sit-skiing activity which was run by experienced military amputees and designed to rebuild confidence and self-belief.

“The Blesma Support Officer told me that Blesma would help me get going again. He explained all the things they could do to help me and said that I’d be skiing or white-water rafting within a year if I wanted to. It didn’t really seem possible at that moment but I knew it was a turning point.

Soon after that the moment came for me to see Kezia for the first time since coming home. I was really nervous about her reaction but I shouldn’t have worried. She came tearing into the car and leapt on me squealing with giggles.

Within a year I’d learned to walk using prosthetics and then found myself sit-skiing in Colorado on a Blesma rehabilitation break. It was awesome. Just great to get out of hospital and be with a group of people in the same circumstances; guys who’d lost arms and legs in action just like me. It made me feel normal again.

Six years on and things couldn’t be more different. Becky and I got married and we have two children together, Mason who is two and baby Evelyn who is 7 months old. Kezia is 9 years old and now she’s completely unfazed by having a dad with three prosthetic limbs.

When I was in Selly Oak I never imagined my life would turn out so amazingly. I’m very lucky to be married to someone as supportive as Becky and to have three healthy kids. And because of all the help and support we get from Blesma, I’ve been able to spend more time at home and be a better dad and husband.

It’s a daunting thing to lose limbs when your job and your whole life is focused on being physically fit. But Blesma know how to help because every one of their members has been through exactly the same thing.”

Mark is now an owner of multiple small businesses and is also a motivational speaker and travels around the world to tell his story about how he overcame his horrific accident. He is also an employee and ambassador of The Royal Marines Association, and other military charities where he represents each charity and speaks about the work they do.

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Mark in training for the Invictus Games