Yesterday I gave a talk / lecture at the Repat hospital.
The audience were the nurses, the physio's and the occupational therapists who work specifically in amputee rehabilitation.
We laughed, We cried but mostly we shared - best practice ideas, overcoming familiar challenges etc.
I WALKED away - I walked away because of the amazing 'work' these people do - their belief and their commitment and unconditional love for humanity is what ran in the veins of those who taught me how to stand on '2 feet' again and how to face the fear and take that all important first step!
This hospital is currently under threat of closure because of the haunting of the 'bottom line' ...
The Repatuation Hospital was founded as a place where returning soldiers could come to be healed - healed of the little known PTSD, healed of the un-healable loss of limbs, and to most importantly offer a sense of community and belonging.
Today in 2015 that sense of community and belonging remains strong - in fact it is the glue, I believe, that holds the very walls together.
No one will understand the needs of an amputee better than another amputee - the infliction has no prognosis other than permanency - it is for life.
This unique South Australian landmark has all the promise to be a future centre of Excellence in the care of returning soldiers, and of the public - people like myself who can feel some sense of 'normality ' when in an environment where most people have something missing!
If this hospital closes, the units may be amalgamated into other South Australian hospitals - legs will still be fitted, PTSD still treated, wounds still dressed...and rehab still done, just not under the ONE roof!
The health benefits of community and belonging may not be quantifiable on a spread-sheet - they are just FELT in the heart and soul.
I am the proud Ambassador for the Repat Hospital here in South Australia. I hope it is a role that will continue for my lifetime and beyond.
Gill Hicks MBE
I was severely and permanently injured in the London bombings of 2005. I am determined to do all I can to deter anyone from following a path of extreme violent action and believe everyone can make a personal difference to create a confident global community and a sustainable peace.