Blind veteran thanks Mum for incredible support this Mother's Day

19 March 2014 16:35

Private Ken Facal was blinded in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, now he thanks his Mum this Mothering Sunday for her incredible support through his recovery.

Private Kennet (Ken) Facal was serving in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment in 2010 when he was left blinded and severely injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). On thisMother's day Ken is saying a big thanks to his Mum for her incredible support through his long and difficult recovery.

When Ken's accident took place, he was 23 years old. He was immediately transferred to a UK hospital where he was kept in intensive care for two and a half months.

Ken's mother, Neomi Green, said: "As a mother, it was so difficult to see my son in pain and come to terms with the realisation that the last time he could see me had been before he went off to serve.

"I knew that I had to be strong for him. I did not want him to see me cry, so when times were really tough I would go to the welfare support staff at the hospital rather than to him. I did not want him to feel as though he was a burden".

Ken is now 27 and lives in east London. He said: "During the first year after the accident I became really close with my Mum. She stopped working for three months so that she could visit me in hospital every day. I couldn't stand the hospital food so she would cook food she knew I liked and bring it in for me to eat instead! "Before each time I went into surgery my mum as well as my dad would be there for me. I don't know what I would have done without that support as it was always pretty nerve-wracking before surgery. You can never be sure how it will go and if it will be successful or not.

"In the first days I was really demanding, I think - I needed someone to be on hand to describe to me what was around me and what everything looked like. It was scary not being able to see, and my Mum was very supportive and patient with me."

The year after Ken had his accident he became a member of Blind Veterans UK. Ken has access to the Blind Veterans UK's free, comprehensive and lifelong emotional and practical support, which is delivered across our three centres in Brighton, Llandudno, North Wales and Sheffield, as well as in blind veterans' own homes.

Ken says: "Joining Blind Veterans UK has made a massive difference to me - it has given me so much confidence and really helped me to adjust to my sight loss. My Mum has been really relieved to know that I have access to a great deal of support. I think she feels very happy knowing that there is a place I can go where to meet people who have been through something similar to what I have been through - or in some cases much worse situations, with many of the charity's veterans being left completely blind.

"When I was first in hospital, I was surrounded by people who had all sorts of injuries and were not necessarily vision impaired. I found it really difficult to communicate easily with them; I couldn't just get up and go to them on their beds or involve myself in a conversation because I couldn't see them.

"Joining Blind Veterans UK made all the difference. It feels as though we are all in it together. Every aspect of the charity's support and approach caters for our sight loss. This means that there is time to concentrate on other things that we want to experience and achieve".

Neomi says: "Ken has come such a long way since joining Blind Veterans UK and it has been very good to see. I remember when he first joined and would come home talking about everything he had learnt, such as cooking skills. He has grown so much in confidence with their help".

We launched the 'No One Alone' campaign to reach out to more people like Ken. It is estimated that there are 68,000 plus blind veterans who could be eligible for the Blind Veterans UK's free, comprehensive and lifelong support but are currently unaware of it. To request free support for a veteran you know freephone 0800 389 7979.