Former construction worker Mick, 70, spent his working life in physically demanding jobs including working as a steel worker, concrete builder and roofing specialist in his hometown of Banbury in Oxfordshire until his life dramatically changed in 1995. The first sign anything was wrong was when he started getting blurred vision. He was advised by his optician to go to hospital - further tests, including an MRI scan, confirmed a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 1995.
"When I first started coming to the Centre in 2009, I was in a wheelchair and was no longer able to drive. I had to rely on a taxi to get me anywhere, which proved costly. The charity was able to offer me a place on the free adapted mini-bus service to and from my home and the Centre.
I can quite honestly say that the Centre has changed my life, from struggling to sit independently and requiring two people and equipment to transfer out of my chair. In a few short years I was able to start walking independently, and I had my driving license reinstated in 2015.
I am now self-sufficient and have greater confidence with doing everyday tasks. My sessions have incorporated a variety of strengthening exercises involving work on the Anti-Gravity Treadmill®, the Vibro machine, the bike and the standing balance bars to name but a few.
I have been a keen swimmer since childhood and never gave up regular sessions at the Dragon Centre at Bodmin. I spoke to the physio team about setting me a challenge. In July 2014, after five weeks of training with a swimming coach I swam a mile to raise money for the Centre.
I have to say I have become something of an adrenaline junkie and has jumped out of a plane, taken on various challenges on static bikes and tackled the zip wire at Adrenaline Quarry, near Liskeard, raising thousands of pounds for the Centre.
Not only has the Centre given me back my confidence and independence, it has also given me a safe haven to which I feel a part of and can enjoy a hot chocolate and chat amongst friends. It really is a very special place which has given me my life back.”