Karin Golbourn is one of our Band of Sisters and also an extraordinary fundraiser for Help for Heroes.
Last November, she held her seventh Ladies Charity Event to raise funds for Help for Heroes. The event in Ware, Hertfordshire, attracts 180 ladies who enjoy dinner, live entertainment, a disco and a raffle. The total from all these events has now exceeded £56,000
Karin told us about what motivates her to keep fundraising and how Help for Heroes has supported her son, Billy.
“I felt I had to do something with this event to support the lads that are still suffering and still need support.
“My son, Billy, was a proud Royal Engineer in the Army. But at Christmas 2008, during a military operation in Afghanistan, he got pneumonia which led to reactive arthritis. Within days, he went from a fit soldier to a young man who had to rely on others. His hands were badly affected and he was often dependent on a wheelchair. While he was recovering in hospital it was discovered Billy also had complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS), which multiplies and exaggerates pain.
“It was during his long stay in Selly Oak Hospital that we first heard about Help for Heroes. As a family we saw first-hand the direct, practical help and support our lads were getting.
“When Billy was in Headley Court for his rehabilitation, he was given the opportunity to learn how to sail. On being medically discharged from the Army, Help for Heroes paid towards his offshore yacht qualification. He went from having nightmares about Afghanistan to dreaming of sailing.
“Unfortunately, Billy’s health was never stable and he spent so much time in hospital. As well as his dreaded CRPS, he suffered two strokes, had two kidney stones and was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“Help for Heroes’ Band of Brothers fellowship invited Billy and his wife, Amy, to events and experiences. These made him feel so much better. He said to be back with mates was massive.
“In 2013, Billy and Amy decided to follow her family and live in Australia. Billy secured a job in the sailing industry. Sadly, his health deteriorated once again and it became obvious they had to find something else that would allow them to be flexible around his health problems.
“Amy came up with the idea of starting a cleaning company, but their savings were soon used up because Billy was in hospital so many times. There was nowhere to turn. Help for Heroes gave them a grant to help start up what is a very successful cleaning business. They now have a lovely son, Will, and are loving life.
“Billy's health is definitely better, but he never knows from one day to another what problems he's going to have. He will never forget the support and immense feeling of relief that Help for Heroes gives him and his family. It’s truly a lifeline.
“Meeting the people Help for Heroes supports makes me realise how much support is still needed. The Armed Forces are still sacrificing and suffering. That’s why, every year, when I ask myself if we should do another event the answer has always been ‘yes’!
“So here’s to this year’s Ladies Charity Event for Help for Heroes. Wish us luck!”