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Life changed in an instant



RAF Family

Today Armed Forces Week recognises the services of Reservists who give up their free time to serve their country. For the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Family we support includes RAF Reservists. Those like Ambassador Joanna Martin, who was injured while training for deployment.

For Joanna, life changed in an instant when a training exercise left her with severe back injuries and the RAF Benevolent Fund has been by her side ever since.

Joanna Martin

In 2005, while based at RAF Leuchars, Joanna was training for deployment in her role as an RAF Reserve nurse. She was completing an assault course at RAF Leuchars when she fell 20ft from a cargo net during the exercise.

Joanna explains: "My spinal cord was severed, leaving me with no feeling or movement from my chest down. I had nine months of rehabilitation in a hospital spinal unit and was left unable to walk and in a wheelchair, although with full use of my arms.

"I couldn’t go back to live in my house and the RAF Benevolent Fund very kindly funded most of the renovation costs of an old bungalow for me, creating a wet room, adapting a kitchen, providing new windows, central heating, ramps… Without all these features in place, I wouldn’t have been able to live independently."

Joanna became a Housing Trust resident, living in a property provided by the Fund, meeting her needs, at an affordable rent.

She added: "I was just blown away by the amount of help I was given. As a squadron we had done various fundraising activities for the charity, but I hadn’t appreciated the scope of the help that they can provide."

Now Joanna is an Ambassador for the Fund, helping the charity to raise awareness and funds for the work they do.

The RAF Benevolent Fund has launched the RAF Reservist Challenge, to raise funds for our work, and raise awareness of the support we can give to Reservists.