Rachel’s new career following injury on duty
In June 2016 I eventually had the MRI scan and was referred to a neurosurgeon. In April 2017 I was diagnosed with a bulging disc that was compressing my spinal cord. Occupational health told me I didn’t need to come back to work.
I was devastated. I’d tried to get into the police for 15 years. I’d even done my work experience with the police when I was 15. I thought, where’s my life gone? And more importantly, what do I do now?
I’d never heard about the Police Dependants’ Trust, but my solicitor told me to register. That’s when I found out about the retraining grants scheme for people like me. I had to look for something where I could be self-employed. My injury and chronic pain syndrome can make me unreliable so I needed to be able to choose when I work. I’d fitted hair extensions and done a hairdressing course previously, so that’s what I decided to, focussing on hair loss.
Thanks to a retraining grant from the Police Dependants’ Trust, I’ve started my own business making wigs, integrated hair pieces, and providing micropigmentation – a treatment for men and women that have little, or no, hair. I’ve begun to get noticed for my work and I’ve been contacted by two salons that do a lot of work with cancer patients. They’re interested in seeing how we can work together and I’ve also voluntarily made wigs for a local cancer charity to put into their cancer wig bank.
When the Trust gave me the funding for my first course I felt like I’d won the lottery. I suddenly stopped taking my medication. I didn’t need antidepressants because I thought, I’m actually going to have some sort of direction. I work with some lovely people and I’m able to help people again.