Rob Cromey-Hawke served in the Army for 12 years before he sustained life-changing injuries including a brain injury and back and spinal cord injuries. SSAFA were there to support him during his rehabilitation.
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Over 12 years, Rob Cromey-Hawke served as both a soldier in the Parachute Regiment and a commissioned officer in the Royal Engineers. Then he sustained life-changing injuries in Afghanistan.
Over the following 16 months, Rob was admitted seven times to Headley Court, the dedicated rehabilitation centre for our Armed Forces. Each visit lasted for around four weeks. The centre provides the best possible medical care, but it was a long way from Rob’s partner Karen and two sons who live in North Yorkshire.
At a time in life when Rob needed his family most, they were separated by more than 200 miles. In addition, travel was exceedingly limited for Rob, as he was unable to use public transport or travel in a car due to his brain and spinal injuries.
SSAFA’s Norton House provides accommodation and support for family members when their loved one is under-going treatment at Headley Court. As a result, Karen, who was a deputy head teacher and busy during the week, was assured of a warm, supportive environment each weekend at Norton House. Along with the fantastic support of our staff, staying at Norton House means sharing experiences with other families whose injured partner, parent or sibling are all at different stages of recovery and rehabilitation. It's a network of mutual support.
"Thanks to SSAFA, Karen was able to stay nearby each time," explained Rob. "This helped reduce the stress and anxiety that distance puts on a relationship when you’re apart for long periods, as well as giving Karen the chance to speak to the medical staff treating me.
"The SSAFA staff make Norton House a home from home. They are amazing. I shall never forget the support my family and I received. Thank you."
Congratulations to Rob on being selected as part of Team GB for the official Invictus Games 2016!