See the Difference / Stories / Alan Izzard

Alan Izzard

For the thousands of people Help for Heroes supports, every one of their recovery journeys is different.

Finding exactly what works for them to kick-start rebuilding their lives after suffering a life-changing injury or illness can seem daunting. Sometimes though, that kick-start could be something as simple as getting a grant for sports equipment, meaning they can get out of the house and have something to concentrate on.

This small change brought a big difference for Veteran Alan Izzard whose life was being destroyed by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Serving in the Royal Artillery for 13 years, Alan saw active tours of Iraq, Bosnia, Cyprus and the Gulf. He retired from the military with an exemplary discharge and initially found meaningful work back on Civvy Street.

But, two years later, the hidden effects of Alan’s tours began to surface and threatened to destroy his life: “I was struggling with some of the basic things in life – things you take for granted like concentration, focus and memory loss. I was told I had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) mixed with anxiety and depression.

“It had a massive impact on my family and friends, especially my children. My friends tried to help me but I pushed some away, while the others just didn’t know how to handle my situation. This left me very isolated.”

Shutting himself inside and not wanting to leave the house, Alan couldn’t see a way out. But little did he realise a simple activity would be the turning point in his recovery.

He was invited to take part in a round of golf while receiving support from a community outreach officer. Encouraged by the positives that playing had brought, the Disabled Golfing Association recommended he reach out to Help for Heroes who gave him a grant to buy his own golf clubs.

Now able to play golf regularly thanks to having his own equipment, Alan has seen how the grant has had a positive impact on his whole life.

Playing golf has relieved some of the tension that has built up due to his PTSD. It also gives Alan the chance to get out of the house, engage with people and get active again. Crucially, golf has also given him something to focus on other than the negative feelings his PTSD brings.

Alan explains: “Golf has given me back my confidence and has also saved my family life. I’m now able to concentrate, focus and challenge myself. I can go out in public and spend time with my family, no matter where we are. My wife says I’m a lot more relaxed and more like the person I used to be. I’m making real progress.”

“I’ve got my confidence back. My wife says I’m more like the person I used to be. I’m making real progress.”