British troops are recognised as the best in the world – and deservedly so, with the word ‘heroes’ being used in most news reports…but even heroes get hurt. Some injuries are psychological, but more often than not limbs are lost or severely damaged, and most wounds cause extensive scarring. Many casualties are young men and women, in the prime of their lives, whose confidence has been damaged along with their body and they believe that they will never be able to lead normal lives again.
The Harley Street Skin Clinic, headed up by husband and wife team Lesley Reynolds and Dr. Aamer Khan, probably best known for their enviable A-List clientele, have been quietly working with injured servicemen and women for sometime now, particularly in the field of scar tissue reduction thus enabling the patient to face the world again. They have had some remarkable results.
One female patient was on a tour of duty in Afganistan where she was caught in an explosion and badly burned on her upper body. She lost confidence and didn’t like leaving the house but we have been treating her for a year now and the difference is amazing! There’s still a way to go, but she is now happy to wear strappy tops like most women. The treatment is not painless but the results are absolutely worth it in the end. These guys all work in the theatre of war, I simply work in the theatre and it’s a real joy for me to be able to help to make any difference, however small.
And it’s not only skin treatment. Whilst treating the service personnel the team at the Harley Street Skin Clinic discovered that many were passionate about racing…high-speed karts no less. And they were fearless! The thrill of hurtling around the track, competing against injured, and able-bodied drivers boosted endorphins, did wonders for their confidence and speeded up the whole recovery process.
Another soldier is double-amputee Mark Allen who says, “Being able to race against non-injured drivers on a totally level playing field has helped me rebuild my life. I’ve been able to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do.” Mark had bad facial scars from the IED blast that took his legs. The clinic have helped him enormously and his scars are almost all gone.
And so Back on Track was born. The first Back on Track karting race was in the summer of 2014 and it was an immediate success. Celebrities such as Ingrid Tarrant, Lizzy Cundy, Shane Richie, Phil Turner, Sgt. Johnson Beharry VC, Michelle Dewbury, Miss England and many more came along with their families to race and support the charity- some even showed they might have alternate careers in racing! Profits made helped the injured to continue their karting life.
More races followed in 2015 and 2016 with support growing all the while…and in the Autumn of 2016 Back on Track was granted official status by the Charity Commission which meant that more money could be raised to help more servicemen and women heal their skin injuries and rebuild their confidence….and to keep racing.
With no official support or funding from elsewhere, Back on Track relies on donations via the JustGiving page or monies raised from events…and our plans are growing.
OUR MISSION: The preservation of health, rehabilitation and resettlement into society of former members of the armed forces who have been wounded, physically or psychologically, in particular but not exclusively by providing or assisting in the provision of medical treatment (including reconstructive surgery) emotional and psychological support and facilities or other support.