Arran Middlemiss - Peer Support Advisor Arran Middlemiss - Peer Support Advisor For Borders Area TEL: 07949 582 018 EMAIL: [email protected] Click here to see Arran's up and coming Coffee Meets dates Arran has been with Spinal Injuries Scotland as a peer support since March 2021 Arran's Story I was born raised and live in a small fishing village called Eyemouth tucked away on the very southeast coast of the Scottish Borders. A small community in one of the most beautiful parts of the country has limitless perks the scenery, wildlife, and lack of “cityness” to name but a few make this my perfect place to call home. Growing up in a generation of people who were becoming slowly more and more addicted to technology only made me appreciate the outdoors more than ever. Xbox and PlayStations were taking over from nights playing football at the park, days by the sea and school holidays spent exploring the beaches and rivers that surrounded us. I spent a lot of my childhood in a neighbouring village called St abbs or better known now as New Asgard from the movie The Avengers and where my grandparents are lucky enough to call home. I alongside my twin brother cousins and a small group of friends spent our childhoods jumping in harbours, exploring caves or climbing trees often followed by a fire and pre-packed lunch before we checked our lobster pots, planned the next day's adventure and headed home. When I wasn't off exploring you could almost certainly find me with a ball at my feet and smile on my face whether it be at the park, in the garden or travelling the borders with my local junior football team I was sure to be chasing a ball somewhere. Unfortunately, after nearly ten years playing and growing up alongside each other our time together came to an end and players now friends went their separate ways which led me to join the local amateur side and embarking on my most exciting journey yet. I had progressed from playing with boys of a similar age to now playing with fully grown men some 10 or even 20 years my senior as months went by I graduated from my mum taking me to McDonald's after a game to now having to phone her to pick me up from the pub after another boisterous night out with the boys. My love for the outdoors only grew stronger when I became a teenager and started working weekends and holidays on my grandfather’s fishing boat setting off before the sun rose and returning later that afternoon accompanied by a catch of fresh lobsters and crabs to the amazement of the onlooking tourists as we returned to the harbour. While spending more and more days at sea my school attendance started to sink lower and lower witch eventually led to me leaving school and like many other members of my family doing this as a full-time job. The early hours and long days Would prove tiresome but be made worth it by the sunrises and rare opportunity to watch some of nature's most beautiful animals in their natural environment Just when I thought my life was perfect it came to a rather abrupt halt after being involved as a passenger in a nasty car crash not long before my 17th birthday. I was taken to several Edinburgh hospitals to be worked and operated on to try and save as much function as possible and then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth spinal unit in Glasgow as this was the most suitable place for me to receive the treatment support and rehabilitation I required. Lucky not to have been awake throughout this and still in and out of consciousness due to my stubborn lungs willingness to keep me dependent on the ventilator it would be weeks until I finally realised the significance of the injury. A complete C4/5 tetraplegic. I spent 9 months in Glasgow readjusting to what would be the next chapter of my life and receiving the rehabilitation that was required to prepare me for leaving the unit and returning home. My parents were lucky enough to find a flat nearby, where they lived and supported me throughout my stay at the spinal unit as well as delivering an endless amount of takeaways and making sure all the visitors found us okay who despite the distance never failed to arrive just in time to put a smile on my face. After being discharged from the spinal unit I spent almost a year at home staying in the family living room before an adaptable extension was completed and I finally had my own space to enjoy being a teenager again. A roller coaster a few years later I saw there was a coffee meet and greet advertised organised by Spinal injuries Scotland in the borders and after remembering how relieved I was after speaking to cheery wee Laura in her bright blue top wheeling around the unit and the fun I had at quiz nights back in Glasgow I did not want to miss the opportunity to go and say hello. Fast forward another year and a global pandemic later, just as I thought the rollercoaster was slowing down I saw another post from SIS this time it was an opportunity to join the team and the thought of not only having a blue polo shirt of my own but also being able to give to other people the support and smile that spinal injury Scotland gave to me when I needed it most was a dream come true. Life is what you make it, I now have an accessible home of my own an ever-expanding circle of family and friends a smile back on my face and sense of purpose like I've never felt before, what more could you ask for?