Back in early 2013 I felt truly content, from being a teenage parent I was now parent to two wonderful young adults, both making great progress in life. Having trained as a nurse I was currently working as a specialist with the Looked After Children team, life was good, then, out of the blue, the knock on the door.
Life changed the day our son, James, was killed. Going through the various stages of grief for someone that you loved more than life is the hardest thing I have ever had to experience, especially when it’s your child.
As a nurse, I have looked after families who’s loved ones are going through life limiting or end of life care. I have been trained to support these families through various courses, I knew professionally how to care and respond, however, when it was me, I was lost, but I did know what I wanted people not to say to me or how to act around me. As a family we were united in our grief, however, we all reacted differently. Sometimes the focus was on me, sometimes Efrem, sometimes Yasmin.
When Dan and Efrem met, after they both appeared on Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins, it was clear to see they both had the same vision to help others based on their own experiences. Their mutual love of the outdoors and ability to put people at ease allowing open and honest discussion is the very centre of what StrongMen is about.
Dan’s initial concept really began to take shape over time, and it was great to use my own experiences and skills to help benefit others through StrongMen, as well as myself.
Through work I have personally experienced the impact of grief on men which in turn impacts everyone around them, relationships, finances, work, addiction, self esteem and even suicide.
Using my professional skills and experience I have been able to triage the health requirements and risks of everyone attending the weekend before they arrive in addition to providing medical cover throughout the event. It is essential that the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone taking part is catered for as well as any emotional care if needed.
StrongMen is now part of our everyday family life, the charity is evolving and growing gaining the recognition it deserves. Dan and Efrem’s drive, enthusiasm, and determination will ensure StrongMen’s success, my continued involvement is as important behind the scenes as at the events whether buying food for events, despatching items to the post office or running the London Marathon to raise valuable funds for more people to attend the weekends. I am proud to be part of this amazing charity through which I have met the most incredible people, listening to how StrongMen has helped and impacted their lives and those of their families means everything and is the reason why this charity is so needed.
James and Nikki have left a legacy of love, hope and courage. I am very proud of StrongMen Efrem and Dan
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