After the sudden onset of a disabling illness left him feeling suicidal, Phil found fun and friendship at Cowes Sailability Club.

Read why Phil says ‘Cowes Sailability Club saved my life’

I was working for the ambulance service on the Isle of Wight when I was struck down suddenly with a serious illness.  I began to experience double vision in one eye and weakness in both legs and spent a month in hospital, before being diagnosed with Myasenthia Gravis. 

With no possibility of returning to work, I found myself in a really dark place.  I was worried about my future and began to feel very suicidal.  Life had changed so much for me, so quickly, that I just didn’t know what I was going to do.

Then I discovered Cowes Sailability Club and everything changed.  The first trip I did was on a wheelchair-accessible motorboat called Wetwheels.  I left the shore feeling that the world was very dark, but I came back laughing.  The experience was so much fun and so freeing that I was almost overwhelmed. 

After that, I began sailing with the club on Monday afternoons and taking advantage of other amazing opportunities including sailing a 25-foot accessible catamaran.  The volunteers from Cowes Sailability Club and the crews are so welcoming and helpful.  I feel very safe when sailing and boating, not only because of the safety procedures, but because the volunteers and crews really care about me, ask me how I am and look after me.  

I am not exaggerating when I say that Cowes Sailability Club saved my life.  Before I found the charity, I was incredibly low, but now I’m in a much, much better place.  Some days are still difficult, but I no longer have suicidal thoughts.   

Being a part of Cowes Sailability Club has taken away the mental pain I felt after my life was changed through disability.  I love being on the water and have had so many fantastic experiences, sailing, boating and taking part in the club’s social activities.  I have made real friends through Cowes Sailability Club too, and it has opened up a whole new world for me.