A MAN who overcame the trauma of losing his hand in a factory accident aged 18 is now using his experience to help others.
Crispin Cole, from Northallerton, suffered such severe injuries in the incident in 1989 that surgeons could not reattach his hand.
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When he was discharged from hospital, he had no support other than from his family and he didn’t know anyone else with an amputation.
Crispin says it was a very traumatic experience and he became reclusive as he was embarrassed that he no longer had a hand.
He would even hide his prosthetic limb by wearing long sleeved-tops in the heat of the summer months.
But over time he adapted – he learnt to drive, he carried on playing football and continued to work in manual labour.
More than 30-years later, in 2021, Crispin saw a leaflet about the Limbless Association’s Volunteer Visitor (VV) programme when he attended the limb-fitting centre at Middlesbrough.
He decided to train to give others the help and support that he didn’t receive as before he became a Volunteer Visitor he had never even spoken to another amputee.
Now he helps others who have had or are about to have an amputation by listening, supporting, and directing them to relevant local support services.
Crispin said: “The thing I most enjoyed about the VV training was meeting other amputees.
“Peer support is important because it gives the amputee more confidence that there is life out there with an amputation.
“The best part of volunteering has been talking to new amputees and sharing my story to give them inspiration.
“If I can do it, they can.”
Crispin is sharing his story ahead of National Volunteers’ Week which starts on June 1.
Tania Spurling, project manager for the Limbless Association’s VV service said: “It’s an exciting time for the VV project as it continues to grow and demonstrate the benefits that peer support can bring.
“As part of Volunteers’ week, we are celebrating the fantastic work of our Volunteer Visitors who kindly give their time to help support others.
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“By volunteering for just a few hours each month Volunteer Visitors make an extraordinary impact.
“Crispin, along with our team of more than 50 Volunteer Visitors, have really helped make a difference by offering all important peer support to amputees across the UK, helping us to ensure that no amputee need cope alone.”
Around 10 000 amputations take place every year in the UK and The Limbless Association has been supporting lives beyond limb loss for almost 40-years.
They offer information, advice and support for amputees, their loved ones and professionals and also provides a range of services which are free to amputees.
More information about the charity service can be found at limbless-association.org or by calling 0800 6440185.
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