L/Cpl Darren Kamara
I am Darren Kamara (Kam) ex L/Cpl RAF Regt. I was medically discharged from service in September this year with an injury to the C4-C5 area of my neck and T4 syndrome both causing pain and nerve complications that meant I could no longer load bear or take part in impact sports.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be included in an invitation to visit North Carolina and be part of a tour of events and places as part of a joint effort with Mission Motorsport and USO North Carolina. The tour was to take in places and people all based around motorsport and included a trip to the Virginia International Raceway, a viewing of the Ingram and Hendricks private collections, entry to a full day and night of NASCAR racing as guests at the Bank Of America 500 race and also entry to an exclusive trial equipment run with some of the sports top drivers, just to mention a few. Most of the programme was kept from us until the day we were due to go to each event so there were surprises pretty much each day as well as the anticipation of the parts we were let in on in advance. For me, the trip was just an awesome event from start to finish, I am not as into cars as much as some of the guys who are building their own or studying motorsport or engineering, I am more into just driving them or taking pictures of anything shiny for my portfolio and there was no shortage of things to snap.
My recovery has not been easy, mainly due to the fact that my injury is not something that can be fixed, so I am very limited in what I can do as I take some pretty heavy meds to help manage my problems hence the photography. Mission Motorsport has given me the chance to get up close to some amazing machines at events I would probably never have gotten to especially getting on this trip. I was able to take so many shots for myself and for the rest of the group to look back on but also to add to my own portfolio but my favourite part was getting track side at the actual race at the pit lane exit, somewhere reserved normally only for a few press photographers!!
The trip to the states and the other events I have been to courtesy of MM have been great for giving me things to aim for, it’s too easy to slip in to the rut of just not bothering most days, being too angry at what has happened to want to put effort in to your future, I know I did fall in to the trap for a while, in some ways I still am, but MM have been great at including me and other guys in something you would probably never think you could do after injuries like lost limbs, spine damage etc. Even if you can’t actually drive, there are so many other areas you can get in to as a new career or even a serious hobby they have helped make me aware of.
I have met some great people thanks to Mission Motorsport already and look forward to getting to more events and seeing those guys again and meeting the ones I have not got to say hello to yet.