We spoke with GBÂ Paralympian &Â W Model Tony Mills who offered a personal insight into his story, how it’s changed him and created his new found belief.
“How many times have you heard, Â ‘What will be will be’ orÂ ‘Everything happens for a reason’? I supposeÂ the very thought of not being in control of our own lives would make even the best of us question whatÂ drives them. I personally believe we all have a path to walk which at times becomes less clear. A path weÂ may stray from but eventually in time find our way back to. It’s just up to us to make the most of theÂ journey, not just for ourselves but the others we cross paths with. A belief I didn’t always have, but a beliefÂ born from what’s commonly known as a life changing situation I found myself in 18 years ago.
Barely a year old I was photoed kicking a ball in my garden and for the rest of my childhood the dream ofÂ playing for my favourite team grew stronger with each year that passed. Football was my life and gave meÂ so much, and considering I had so little growing up it was everything to me. If I’m being honest my schoolÂ days consisted of P.E, break and lunch times and passing the time in between. With the rest of my dayÂ playing in the street back on the estate. Even at the age of 18 I still believed a scout would pick me up anyÂ day and I’d be living my dream. A dream sadly that came crashing down around me on April fools day ofÂ ’98.
Whilst playing a game for my college I fractured my tibia and fibula. As I laid there waiting for theÂ ambulance all that concerned me was the amount of time I’d be sidelined, but little did I know what the nextÂ 24 hours had in store for me. I arrived at the hospital and was cast and informed that I’d have to stayÂ overnight for observation. As a sportsman you’re told to listen to your body and later that evening mine wasÂ screaming to me there was something wrong.
It’s called Compartment Syndrome which causes swelling. Apparently my leg swelled so much inside theÂ cast it cut the blood flow which resulted in me losing my leg. You will probably ask, but why wasn’t thisÂ spotted, surely you must of been in so much pain and why didn’t you say anything? Sadly I did, IÂ complained so much I was called a wimp and before long I was ignored. It was a doctor on my ward that IÂ screamed to during the early hours that finally listened. 5 weeks later, a blood transfusion and severalÂ operations I left the hospital a broken man feeling as if my world had ended.
So I go back to my original point. That day I put my life in the hands of someone else, and because of themÂ my life changed forever. At my darkest hour I asked myself after losing what I thought was everything toÂ me…Why??? The belief that there was a reason for this, and that it would become clear to me as long as IÂ kept believing pushed me on to where I am now. On the path I was always meant for.
I look back now over the last 18 years and think of everything I’ve achieved. Be it wearing the 3 Lions onÂ my chest or my GB Athletics vest, but the one thing that puts the biggest smile on my face is the fact that IÂ didn’t give up. So whatever it is you do, or wherever it is you want to go. Believe in yourself and it will takeÂ you where you need to be.”
-Â Tony Mills