Just two months into his first operational tour in Afghanistan, aged just 23, Rob suffered life-threatening injuries when an Improvised Explosive Device was triggered. Rob lost both eyes.
“Everything I knew about how to live was ripped away from me. I didn’t even know how to get around my own house. I’d gone from being a front-line soldier to relying on others for everything.”
Gaining independence and hope
Visiting a Blind Veterans UK centre was a turning point for Rob. He received a range of support; everything from white cane training to help him get out and about, to a liquid-level indicator, an ingenious device that allows him to make a cup of tea without burning himself.
With his partner, Gemma, he has two children, the youngest just six months. With Blind Veterans UK’s support, including our programme to help prepare for fatherhood when blind, means he can play a full and active role in their lives.
“Blind Veterans UK brought me back to the world. They brought back my self-esteem. Meeting other blind veterans who were happy and functioning filled me with inspiration and hope.”Blind veteran, Rob
Ken enlisted in the RAF in 1949, serving for nine years as a motor mechanic.
Now aged 88, Ken’s sight has been deteriorating for the last eight years, as has his quality of life.
Moving out of social isolation
With the death of his beloved wife and the steady loss of his sight, Ken became ever more isolated. An avid reader, he could no longer enjoy books or even read his post.
Thankfully, Ken was introduced to Blind Veterans UK. At a visit to one of our centres for a week, he learnt new skills, including how to use magnifiers and equipment to help in the kitchen.
Having the company of other blind veterans also lifted his spirits and gave him hope.
Ken now attends monthly get-togethers with other blind veterans. Socialising, getting out of the house, being part of a community and getting practical and emotional support allows Ken to find fulfilment in his old age.
“It was only when I came back from the Blind Veterans UK centre that I realised just how low I had been before. I had reached rock bottom. They have quite simply saved my life.”Blind Veteran, Ken