A Hartlepool teenager whose dad lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan is to spend a week using a wheelchair to raise money for a leading forces charity.
Sixteen-year-old Shauna-Leigh Winspear will experience firsthand the daily difficulties faced by disabled war veterans in aid of Help for Heroes, and help to raise greater awareness.
She has been inspired by her dad Craig Winspear, who lost both legs in an explosion while serving his country in December 2011.
He spent more than a year relying on a wheelchair during his recovery and rehabilitation, including learning how to walk again on prosthetic legs.
Shauna-Leigh, of Bishop Cuthbert, said: “I’ve always wanted to do a charity event for Help for Heroes because it is just so personal to me, but I never knew what I wanted to do. I thought of doing runs but this feels personal and more me and something I could really put my effort into.”
Craig’s family were told to prepare for the worst in December 2011, after he slipped on wet ground in Afghanistan and landed on a live bomb.
But after spending five months in hospital, he fought back to health.
In 2016 he won a silver medal as part of the UK basketball side, which reached the final of the Invictus Games in Florida, and he even met Prince Harry.
Shauna-Leigh added: “Since then I have seen the difficulties he’s been through and I’ve met so many people with their own struggles who just get on with it day by day, and it is so inspirational.
“We all know our veterans can struggle with PTSD and other mental issues as well as physical disabilities, yet we don’t take into consideration the challenge of adapting to life in a wheelchair and I would love to raise awareness of that.”
She will spend Christmas in the wheelchair while staying with Craig, who now lives in Bedford.
Although his house has been adapted for wheelchair use Shauna-Leigh, who is a student at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, is still expecting it to be no easy challenge.
“It will be a struggle,” she said. “As well as the physical push, I think going out in public will be quite difficult.
“Some shops haven’t got room for wheelchairs; just simple things people wouldn’t think about will become much more difficult in a wheelchair.”
Shauna-Leigh has set up an online sponsorship page and will post daily video updates on YouTube.
Donate by clicking here at: