As a national Armed Forces charity we have been helping wounded and blinded veterans since WW1 to the present. Here are some of their stories.
Owen Pick was 18 when his leg was blown off by an IED in Afghanistan. Now he has his sights set a medal at the 2018 Winter Paralympics.
"I can’t thank Blesma enough for taking me on that first ski trip and for supporting me along the way."
Dave Lewan, a former Grenadier Guard, lost his right leg in an accident in 2003. Turning to alcohol to deal with the pain, he became violent and suicidal.
"Don’t give up. I nearly did. If I can come through all that and have a great life, it’s possible for anyone else"
Royal Marines Commando Vincent Horton was bombed, shot at, shelled and captured (twice!) during WWII.
"The Germans started to shell me, so I switched routes – and that’s when I was blown up by a landmine and lost both my legs. I don’t remember much about it, although I do vividly recall that I thought I was going to die."
War veteran Nick Beighton lost his legs in Afghanistan, and was part of the first team to cross the UK in a straight line.
"The Blesma trip to Colorado was one of the first times I went away after being injured. I had such an amazing time and it really opened my eyes to what was possible"
John Booth survived having both legs amputated with a saw when he was a Prisoner Of War.
"One of doctors was taking legs away like ninepins. There was no anaesthetic, no medical stuff at all."
Rosemarie Heggie became a Blesma Member after an air raid collapsed her house & caused her leg to be amputated.
"When I reached the sitting room again, I sat on the sofa and, suddenly, I leapt to my feet and the whole house erupted and I was buried under the debris. I was unable to move in any direction and my right leg was lodged on top of the hot coals from the fire."
Mark Ormrod was four months into the tour of duty in Afghanistan when on Christmas Eve, he stepped on an IED landmine.
"The Blesma Support Officer told me that Blesma would help me get going again. He explained all the things they could do to help me and said that I’d be skiing or white-water rafting within a year if I wanted to. It didn’t really seem possible at that moment but I knew it was a turning point."
Darren Swift was injured by an IRA bomb in May 1991 while serving with the Army’s Dog Unit in Belfast.
"I was working with the Army Dog Unit and was feeding my dog when two members of the IRA threw a coffee jar bomb at me. It instantly killed my colleague and good mate, Geordie. I was blown to the floor."
Army veteran Philip Bailey almost died when he contracted a rare flesh-eating bug at the age of 67. He survived, but only after losing both his legs above the knee.
"The doctors think I got the bug from scraping my shins outside. It kills you if you don’t catch it, and the only remedy, unfortunately, is amputation."