Booking holidays should be an exciting time for any family, but for David Abrutat, a paraplegic and a wheelchair user, it was anything but. Until, that is, he was introduced to the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust. In this guest blog, David tells us why he would recommend the Trust to others with disabilities.
My RAF training began back in February 2000 when I joined the RAF Regiment as a Commissioned Officer. Sadly, just four weeks into my initial officer training I was involved in a road traffic accident, breaking my back in four places.
I was left paralysed.
Overnight, my life changed forever and I spent the next year in hospital.
I was medically discharged from the RAF and faced the prospect of being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I'd suddenly lost my career and independence in the blink of an eye.
During my rehabilitation at Headley Court I heard about the RAF Benevolent Fund and the work they do supporting the RAF family. The Fund became extremely important to me during what was a very uncertain time. They were an unexpected shoulder to lean on and helped me re-build my life following the accident.
The Fund are one of the main reasons I have got my life back together so quickly and was able to find a new career as a Lecturer. I am forever indebted to them for the help they have provided me.
Ever since my accident they have provided much needed respite breaks for me and my family through the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust.
Booking holidays as someone with restricted mobility has been very challenging at times and caused stress and worry. All too often, hotels would claim that they are wheelchair friendly only to find out that there are various restrictions when I arrive.
Until, that is, I was introduced to the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust. They consistently supply a high standard of accessible accommodation with superb facilities and plenty of activities that cater for a disabled adult and demanding teenagers!
This year we went away to Spain and every spring we try and get a much needed break in London for a few days.
I would recommend anyone from the RAF family, serving or non-serving who have specific needs to apply to the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust, I'm really glad I did!