Blind veteran Kelly Ganfield at Remembrance

Kelly's story

Kelly joined the British Army aged 18 in 1998, knowing that all she wanted to be was a soldier.

Whilst serving, Kelly volunteered for everything she could, as she relished Army life. Kelly kept up a high level of fitness throughout her service and played football for the Army and combined services. Then in 2005 Kelly was medically discharged from the British Army.

After having two strokes, aged only 23, Kelly’s world turned upside down. She lost the large majority of her eyesight, developed epilepsy, and suffered a brain injury and Raynaud’s.

All as a result of a blood condition called Antiphospholipid Syndrome, Kelly's life changed overnight. She lost her career, her driver’s licence and her independence.

Since becoming a blind veteran though Kelly has found a new lease on life.  Kelly has loved meeting fellow blind veterans, widows and staff at our centres, reunions and luncheons. Blind Veterans UK have enabled Kelly to regain independence by assisting with life skills and IT training.

"Blind Veterans UK has been fantastic. Without the support and all of the information they’ve given me, I don’t know how I would have coped. Initially after losing my sight, I felt very isolated but Blind Veterans UK changed that."

Blind veteran Kelly Ganfield and other veterans

The charity has also enabled participation in various sporting and activity opportunities that Kelly never knew would be possible for somebody living with sight loss.

"I didn’t want losing my sight to stop me from challenging myself so I started running. I’ve always believed that you should do things that challenge you and I didn’t want that to change."

Kelly Ganfield on rowing machine

Kelly is competing in the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. There, Kelly will be taking part in indoor rowing on an erg as well as the 100m sprint with her guide Mikail Huggins. Kelly has been training hard all year to compete against various other nations in the Games in September. This is a dream come true for Kelly as she will once again be representing her country. This time she’s out to show there is 'life beyond sight loss':

"I think my experiences, and those of many other blind veterans, are just some of the proof that shows that the public shouldn’t think of blindness as an obstacle to living a full and active life."

Blind veteran Kelly Ganfield running