Amp-bassador Hope Gordonโ€™s First Blog!

Hello! In my first blog for FYF I thought I would give a brief overview of who I am and what FYF means to me.ย 

Iโ€™m Hope Gordon and Iโ€™m from a tiny wee place called Rogart in Sutherland up in the Highlands. Apart from suffering from a sore knee on and off since I was 4 years old, this was always put down to growing pains, I lived a very healthy and active life, participating in all the sports I could as a child. Then one day when I was 12, I went to school and although nothing happened, my leg became extremely sore and I couldnโ€™t walk on it, I went swimming later that day and couldnโ€™t kick in the water. I didnโ€™t think too much of it, thinking it was just a flare up of my โ€˜growing painsโ€™. l thought Iโ€™d just go to sleep and be completely fine the next day. Unfortunately that wasnโ€™t the case and Iโ€™ve not walked naturally since. About a year later I was finally diagnosed with a chronic neurological pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). I spent all my teenage years in and out of hospital receiving various different treatments, but unfortunately nothing helped.

The one thing that helped me enormously throughout this time was sport. I could no longer do most of the activities I did when I had two working legs, but I could still swim using my arms, so I just kept swimming! I soon got invited to join the Scottish Para team – I swam with that team from 2010-2018 and have some very special memories with some great people. Swimming really helped me, not just physically – Drs think how active I was helped to slow down the spread of my condition – but also psychologically. I could leave my wheelchair on the side of the pool and just enjoy the freedom of the water.ย 

Throughout this time my leg continued to get worse, eventually I knew that my best way forward for a more positive quality of life was to have an amputation. It was a really difficult journey to get this because most Drs were not on my side. Eventually on 2nd August 2016, after a 5 and a half year battle to get there, I had my left leg electively amputated above the knee. This has been the best decision I have ever made. Nobody knows your body as well as you do, I just knew that this was the best option for me and I am so glad I fought the battle to get there. It has given me a second shot at life. Iโ€™ve been able to do so much more with one leg than I ever could with two, and also being free of my CRPS pain!ย 

What does FYF mean to me? I absolutely love this charity, literally everything about it. The people who run it and who they run it for. I consider myself extremely lucky as an amputee. As it was an elective amputation my brain was around the idea far before it actually happened (1917 days to be exact), because I was also involved in para sport I knew so many amputees who I knew I could go to for help. I felt like my path was already set. However, I am very aware that this is not the case for everyone. And I think this is where FYF step in (no pun intended). I love that there is something for everyone, if you want to have a coffee, do some gardening, go rock climbing or abseil off a crane, FYF can help! I really feel like FYF provide such vital support to amputees and their families. Letโ€™s face it, adjusting to life with less limbs isnโ€™t easy, but having FYF by my side made it easier for me. I am a very proud ambassador for the charity (or Amp-bassador as we like to call ourselves), and I will fly the FYF flag as high as I can wherever I go!ย 

What do I do now? I am now a full-time athlete, but more of that in another blog!ย