OP RIDE 2018 – SGT RTD. Bruce Blackburn

Op Ride 2018 became a defining point in my life because; as a stroke survivor (all 4 of them), depression sufferer (The Black Dog) and PTSI, I went into Op Ride ’18 with trepidation and anxiety, Why, you may wonder? None of these medical issues can be seen.  They are all internal and play heavily on your mind which causes self-doubt which then begins that cycle again.

I made a statement about 3 days into the ride, having met Ben Parkinson, Tyler Christopher, Mark Allen all double amputees and Christine Gauthier a paraplegic, “That l felt like am imposter”. I was told in no uncertain terms that it’s those with head injuries that can’t be seen are the individuals who can case the most grief.

I watched Ben do his thing, the most injured soldier to have survived an IED in Afghanistan, he became my inspiration. My mantra was simple, with 1.7 legs (as I say having lost 30% strength on my left side). It was simply “I was doing my ride not anyone else’s” each leg/day was my journey to rebuild my mental fortitude.

Since Op Ride I am a happier more balanced person. To thePilgrim Bandits Charity UK, Steve, Ish, Matt and all the guys and girls thanks for the inspiration, opportunity, support and the camaraderie over 2450km in 19 days.  Too my Kiwi Team, Raphael’s Flying Kiwis, Amy, Dave & Bill, it’s a trip I’ll never forget, ONWARD

Designation: SGT Rtd. Bruce Blackburn