We are delighted to welcome our newest Ambassador to The Mason Mile team, Sean Ash. With him, Sean brings a unique and inspiring story that shines a garish light on the harsh realities’ life can throw at us. The way in which Sean has dealt with his own personal challenges has captured the hearts of many; with Sean serving as a reminder to persevere through the hard times and that we are capable of much more than we might imagine!
Sean is a Father of four and a London Ambulance Service Emergency Call Handler from Bexley. In August last year, Sean’s whole existence shifted when he was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome, a rare condition which left him paralysed below the waist. This diagnosis understandably had a huge impact not only on Sean’s physical health, but his mental health too. Initially, Sean struggled to come to terms with the tough reality he had been faced with; unable to see a way out or any real purpose to life. However, remarkably Sean then found the strength to channel his own hardships into helping others and committed himself to raising money for the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust after they saved his life.
After intensive physiotherapy, Sean completed the near impossible and managed to walk 10 meters with his Zimmer frame. This achievement spurred him on to do more, and Sean set up his ‘Xtra Mile’ campaign to echo the extraordinary lengths that the NHS staff go to for us all every single day. Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, Sean followed in his footsteps and has since completed two 1-mile walks, the first in his local neighbourhood and the second around Millwall Football Club’s pitch. Sean has now raised almost £80,000 for the NHS and has found a new lease of life in his passion to inspire others.
We asked Sean,
What inspired you to volunteer as an Ambassador?
‘I decided to become an Ambassador for The Mason Mile because I believe in its core values and objectives: to help inspire those who are inactive into activity. I have been there before; depressed, fatigued and with no motivation to get up and move. It’s the hardest thing to do when you are feeling low and in the dumps. But through movement, that’s where we really get our body working again, and taking that first step is the key to feeling happier and being healthy again.’
What do you hope to achieve through becoming an Ambassador?
‘As an Ambassador, I would like to reach out to those who say they cannot do it and tell them that they can. Anything that seems impossible can be achieved if you get up and try. It took me around 600 times to build up my core muscles again so that I could have the strength to stand holding onto a Zimmer frame.
If we give up at the first hurdle, we will never complete the race. Some people think that winning the race is the highest achievement one can achieve, but I believe that we all are different, and the true race is not competing against each other, but competing against our own demons that persist in holding us back. I’d like to encourage more people to get involved with The Mason Mile and for them to take a stand and make those steps – for me that’s a huge achievement in itself.’
You can donate to Sean’s ‘Xtra Mile’ fundraising campaign by clicking here.