A spinal cord injured RAF serviceman is making a big difference in the armed forces. Corporal Lee Cairns, 31, from Rugby, has taken on a unique role working for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), supporting other spinal cord injured servicemen.
Lee served in the Royal Air Force for eight years before a road traffic accident left him paralysed from the waist down.
Lee took up his role as SIA Community Peer Support Officer, for the Armed Forces, six months ago, and is enjoying using his experience to help other servicemen with similar life-changing injuries.
“I find the whole position very rewarding,” said Lee. “The role involves me supporting personnel from all three services who have sustained a spinal cord injury, and is mostly based at Headley Court. I use my experience to advise the newly injured, as well as signposting them to other organisations who I know can help - like the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.””
The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) helped Lee after his accident by purchasing a bungalow adapted to his needs, as well as a light weight wheel chair, road going hand-bike, and some funding towards a racing wheelchair.
RAFBF Regional Director Paul Hewson was also instrumental in creating Lee’s new role with SIA. Paul said: “From the first moment I met Lee I could tell that he was someone itching to give something back. I was delighted to work with SIA to create the new position of Armed Forces Community Peer Support Officer, which is a unique role, with no-one else doing it in the country”.
Jackie Bailey, Head of Outreach Services from SIA, added:
“We were thrilled to work with the RAFBF to develop this much needed peer support service for servicemen who sustain a spinal cord injury. Lee’s personal experience and understanding is invaluable and his role provides the necessary support that we know is often required following such a life-changing event.
If you would like to find out more about this vital peer service you can contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here