Over the weekend I had the absolute honour to go to The Royal International Air Tattoo was an amazing event where I was formally awarded the flying scholarship by Prince Faisal of Jordan. The entire day was such an incredible experience, I also had the honour of meeting one of my scholarship sponsors from Lockheed Martin.
It was a day that I felt immensely proud to be part of something so amazing and life changing. It is difficult to articulate just what the flying scholarship that you have given me means to me. I am a big fan of disaster movies, I love a good apocalyptic movie - my life at the moment feels like a house that has been destroyed by a tornado. Thanks to the scholarship I am starting to rebuild the foundation, I am rebuilding my spirit. Once I have done that I need to rebuild my new life, I need to move forward and not focus on the past. The rebuild will be different, it will not be a replication of my old life, because I know I can’t go back to it. I need to build a new life, a life that accepts that I am ill but that my illness can’t and won’t stop me.
It’s so interesting that when I am with my flying scholarship for disabled people colleagues and friends, I feel confident again. I loved being at RIAT. I spent a while speaking to the British Airways pilots, who were based next door, they are another sponsor of scholars. The sponsors who are involved with the charity are genuinely interested in the people that they are helping. The more time I spend with the FSDP folks the more I realise the flying is a small part of the scholarship, it is all about confidence and making a positive difference.
I also had a film crew with me during the day, I have agreed to make a documentary about my illness and about my journey in becoming a pilot. I think, as much as it terrifies me, it will also be cathartic for me. I am exceptionally good at covering up my illness and that is something I need to stop doing. I need to feel comfortable in my own skin.