Humbling and inspiring challenge

Terry Bedford, Chris Allen and Angela Tester-Bedford
Terry Bedford, Chris Allen and Angela Tester-Bedford

I first met Terry Bedford at the end of December 2015 after he was referred to me at Impulse Leisure Chanctonbury, Storrington.

Terry was referred by his physiotherapist, through the Horsham District Council Wellness Scheme, to help aid his recovery from a life changing incident whilst he was at work. The incident has left Terry with severe nerve damage with no feeling from the bottom of his ribs down and the bottom of his shoulder blade down on his right hand side.

Firstly, I don’t think anyone can comprehend going to work in perfect health and then having an incident which changes life as you know it forever, unless you have been through it yourself. The incident has not only left Terry with physical injuries, it has also left him facing a mental health illness and the constant battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD).

In Terry’s own words: “PTSD has changed my life so I am not the person I once was, I may never be able to get the person back I once was. It is like losing your real identity, the person inside disappears, you look hard but you can’t find the real you. You are lost and sometimes feel so alone in the darkest moments, it changes so much in your life’. PTSD is often in the news with regards to the armed forces but it is not just forces personnel that it affects or can affect. As the general public we generally don’t really understand what PTSD is or how it affects those affected by the illness and this is something that has got to change.”

Secondly, an incident that changes someone’s life never only effects one person. What about the closest relatives? Well, Terry is married to a wonderful woman by the name of Angela Tester-Bedford and since the incident her life has also changed forever. The man she married and loves is suddenly in need of being cared for and looked after in more ways than one. Again, I just don’t think we can comprehend just what she has had to go through and shows just how much love she has for her husband.

When Terry first came to me in December, he wasn’t in a great place mentally or physically.

As a fitness instructor, exercise referral instructor & personal trainer, I concentrate on the physical side and leave the mental side to the psychologists. Terry was unable to walk on a treadmill when he came to me,. With a lot of hard work, grit and determination Terry has now, just over four months later and only nine months after the incident, completed a 24 hour treadmill challenge split over two 12-hour days, raising awareness of PTSD and money for Mind UK, the leading mental health charity.

Over the 24 hours Terry managed to travel an amazing 141.5km (87.92 miles) and Angela managed an equally impressive 122.5km (76.14 miles). A lot of people will agree with me when I say what a truly magnificent achievement that is, especially in such a short space of time. I know that Terry and his wife will disagree with me on this, but I honestly don’t deserve any credit for his achievements or progress, I simply did my job by giving Terry the instruction, guidance and support that he rightly deserved. Anyone who is willing to put in the effort to improve their health should be given a pat on the back, let alone someone that has gone through what Terry has. This man is a true inspiration to everyone that he comes into contact with, myself included.

The fact that Terry wants to give something back to those helping in his rehabilitation, to raise awareness of PTSD and to help others that are going through the same sort of battles, further justifies just what an incredible man he is. I am humbled beyond belief to have been a part of his journey and to be able to call both of them my friends. You are both heroes in my eyes and I am looking forward to your next crazy challenge idea, so watch this space!