The Band of Sisters are wives and partners of veterans who have received help from Combat Stress and Help for Heroes. I was one of eight ‘Band of Sisters’ chosen to go on a Sahara trek in March 2019, alongside 30 Help for Heroes fundraisers. I entered a national draw, where I had to say why I wanted to go on the trek. The experience actually began back in October 2018 with a training and respite weekend, where the eight ‘sisters’ first met. We came from across the UK, including Scotland and Devon.
The one thing we all took away from the trip is that you’re never alone. We stacked up stones – a monument of sorts, to represent the people who have been lost or changed by a military experience. The group shared poems and it was a chance to say thank you to the fundraisers. Help for Heroes is the only charity that I’m aware of who support the family, offering respite for wives and spouses of veterans who suffer from PTSD. Coming from a military family means you’re used to moving around and have no real support unit. The Band of Sisters is good in that respect as we are all going through the same thing and can talk about it and feel supported.
At College I want my students to have realistic expectations about a career in the Public Uniformed Services. We want our students to be informed of the impact a career in the services can have on them. They are rewarding jobs but they do come at a cost and aren’t for everyone. Help for Heroes and Combat Stress makes us aware that it’s ok not to be ok and to be brave and ask for help.