Former Royal Marine enjoys his heightened confidence thanks to his new prosthetic arm after two years of wearing one with the incorrect skin tone
Father of two, Ben McBean from Plymouth, was inspired by his uncle who was a Royal Marine and decided to follow in his footsteps. Since the age of twelve, Ben dreamed of becoming a Royal Marine and pushed himself to achieve this dream. By age sixteen, Ben became part of the royal marines and shortly afterwards, was deployed to Afghanistan for his first tour.
Four months into his tour, Ben woke up one morning and his intuition told him something wasn’t right. He went out on patrol and was catastrophically injured in an explosion, resulting in him losing his right leg through the knee and left arm. “Luckily, I didn’t pass out and knew what was going on which has really helped me come to terms with my injury”, said Ben. “I was taken to Selly Oak hospital and because my mind was running as normal, but my body couldn’t do anything, I was bored out of my mind. I switched on the TV and the London Marathon came on; so, I decided that running the marathon was going to be my goal which gave me the drive to begin rehab. I thought that if I can mentally and physically push myself, I will still be the old me,” explained Ben.
Ben was transferred to Headley Court and three weeks later was fitted his first prosthetic leg. Just two hours after receiving it; Ben was up and walking and hasn’t gone back to his wheelchair since. “As soon as my leg came, I felt like I could do anything; I got on with life again”, said Ben. “I learnt to drive and went back to work in the property industry and began working as an inspirational speaker. I don’t believe in waiting for waves of motivation, if I say I am going to do something I will always have a ‘crack on with it’ mindset.”
Bob Watts, the former owner of Dorset Orthopaedic, saw in the local newspaper that Ben was running the London Marathon and reached out to him to provide a running leg. After working closely with Bob, Ben went on to run and complete the London Marathon for the charity Help For Heroes which supports veterans and their families live well after service.
Unfortunately, Ben’s previous limb centre were unable to provide an appropriate cosmetic arm that matched his precise skin tone. Following two years of wearing a standard arm, Ben discovered that Dorset Orthopaedic have a unique service whereby they provide bespoke cosmetic prostheses that could be crafted to mirror his sound side. “I went to Dorset Orthopaedic to have my arm made and they took a mould of my right arm. They asked me all sorts of interesting questions such as do I bite my nails”, Ben says with a grin. “They took down notes of how my hair grows and paid particular attention to matching the exact tone of my skin. The service was great and since then, I go back every two years to have a new arm made. No one would know if they walked past me that I am a double amputee which helped me with my confidence,” explained Ben.
Day to day life now consists of Ben spending time with his family, going for walks, sailing, and travelling, whilst continuing to be a motivational speaker. Ben is a driven individual who has made the best out of his situation and inspired many others. He believes it is important for anyone who may go through an amputation to speak to other amputees. “Reaching out to others is important so you can see that you can still have a life after losing your limbs. I also believe that people should allow themselves to feel their feelings and to be true to themselves. If you aren’t happy, don’t pretend to be. It’s important to be honest to those around you and yourself.” Ben is an example to us all and the way he lives his life with his can-do attitude and desire to motivate others, is truly inspirational.