"Transforming the nations body image"
Have you seen our model Dan bear all on Channel 4 for Naked Beach? The new body confidence show which helps individuals struggling to love their own bodies.
Here is Dan's story:
Losing my arm and shoulder has been unequivocally the best thing that’s happened to me!
It’s important to raise awareness to limb differences as it’s only once you lose the use of a limb through, in my case, traumatic amputation, that you realise the importance and significance of just how much you rely on even a finger or a thumb!!
I have never really faced any direct negative issues, however it does get frustrating when I get on the tube and when people who are sat in the disabled seats look at me realise they’re sat where they are but then carry on with what they’re doing, it doesn’t bother me really because clearly, they need the seat more than me!!! Ignorance is bliss! Unless they’re pregnant, elderly or even have a disability themselves I always offer my seat because manner cost nothing!
I was involved in a really bad motorcycle crash whilst returning back to my barracks one afternoon, I was amputated on sight; the entire right arm and shoulder. The impact and injury load should’ve killed me outright and I guess the ironic thing is, the accident happened not long after returning from Afghanistan.
I returned to my regiment for a further 3 years; relearning to ride a horse, learning to rock climb but discovering that my aspirations of becoming a farrier were never going to happen I was medically retired from The British Army in 2012.
Moving forward my first year out of the army proved to be the worst year of my life. I lost my entire identity, my self-worth, not being able to get a job and living off of every penny I’d ever saved, I asked myself one morning “What have I really got to look forward to?” hitting rock bottom a failed suicide attempt; I couldn’t bear the thought of my mum finding me asking for help has been single handily the most courageous thing I’ve done.
I set the goal of moving back to London, I was offered a job as a chauffeur, living in spare rooms and eventually a run-down caravan in somebodies back garden, I began to draw off of the personalities and behavioral attributes of the clientele I was driving. I decided that there’s more to life than driving a car and I want to find out who Dan Richards really is
In 2014 I qualified as a PADI Scuba Diver in Egypt and then learned to fly a plane. In 2015 I spent the entire year training to row the Atlantic Ocean; I made it to the final 5 of which 4 were chosen- this still remains as my greatest achievement. In 2016 I learned to ski in Switzerland and then also decided to take up cycling as rowing was out!
I cycled across France in June 2016 and suffered horrendously but never once got off and walked, sighting that if I did get off and walk to the top of a hill, I’ve not really achieved anything!!!
It’s also the same year I set the goal of competing in the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games.
In the early part of 2017, I left my job as a chauffeur and was an extra in Han Solo: A Star Wars Story before starting a role in Project Management. In November 2017
I was signed by Zebedee Management and my first job was a Lloyds Bank and Mental Health Awareness #gettheinsideout Campaign becoming one of the faces of the advert, this led to a meeting with a Television Production Company; Barefaced TV, which ultimately led to being cast as a Host for a new television series on Channel4; Naked Beach.
It was whilst making this I’d finally found my calling, something I enjoyed doing and loved being part of the moment of “this is what I want to do” has never happened to me since leaving the military and the last time I had that awareness I was 8 years old, telling my parents
“I want to join the army and be like dad”
In October 2018 I competed in The Sydney Invictus Games as a Cyclist, finishing in the top 7 overall, this for me was my closure, a line drawn in the sand and door being closed on that part of my life, I’m ready to move on with the next chapter of my life.
I’m a big believer in that you can’t begin the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the previous. So here I am now building myself a brand new career in something I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever be doing, but here I am doing it. I’ve spent the last 7 years rebuilding my life from scratch and all I’ll say to anyone looking for advice...
There’s nothing more expensive than a missed opportunity, people are going to have opinions and they’re entitled to them but whilst their opinion doesn’t mean they’re right, somebody’s opinion does not have to become your reality, so live your best life the best way you know, regardless and irrelevant of what people think, because that voice in your head telling you can’t do something is a liar, you can be whoever you want!