Captain Jimmy Lang on why he became a Stambassador
I happily swam a mile in open water to raise money for Action for Stammering Children on 23 June 2018. It is important that children, who are our future, are helped along their stammering journey and are afforded as much help and advice as possible. I chose a swim as my charity event because I simply love swimming and the outdoors. Swimming outdoors is much more of a challenge than swimming indoors and as I was doing the swim anyway, I decided that I needed to raise some funds for ASC to assist them with the great work they do.
When I was young, I stammered quite badly. I never really knew why I had this really irritating stammer and it made life difficult for me. One of the things I remember from my school days was the relentless teasing that accompanied me wherever I went due to stammering. The song ‘Stutter rap’ really didn’t help at all as people would sing it to me and I suddenly found myself isolated due to my stammer. Teachers did what they could to help I guess, but in reflection I don’t really think they knew much about stammering or how to deal with stammering children. One of the issues I remember was when it was time to choose what I wanted to do as work experience. There were no role models for me to look up to in those days that I knew of who stammered and were successful. Therefore I struggled to think of what I could do with my stammer. The only reason I think I struggled at the time was because no one really knew how to advise me. A stammer was clearly seen as a barrier to gaining employment in many jobs and it seemed that if you stammered it would hamper your future career. It was also confusing as a young man to hear people on TV say they stammered, but they spoke so well and didn’t really stammer at all. This gave me a perception that everyone who stammered was trying to be fluent and to fit in with society. These days I like to be me, I stammer, I don’t try to hide it, and I have a current successful 23 year career in the military and have risen from private soldier to becoming a commissioned officer with a MBE. This I something that as a youngster I never dreamed I could achieve.
I became a Stambassador to inspire children who stammer. My story demonstrates that someone with a stammer can be successful. On my Stambassador video, I believe you see the authentic me. I don’t try to hide my stammer and I am just being me. My message to children is that it is not something to be ashamed of, and it should never be seen as a barrier. Take a chance, speak out, otherwise you will never know where the journey could have taken you. I really wish I had some stammering role models when I was young. I believe it would have made life a little bit more easy for me and it would have inspired me to step out of my comfort zone to try out new challenges and grasp new opportunities.
To find out more about Capt jimmy you can follow these links:
My War with Words A 30 minute Forces TV Documentary