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Former Kingsman Anthony Cooper’s life changed forever when he was injured by a roadside bomb at the age of 22. He lost both legs above the knee and suffered significant injuries to his brain and hands. Now registered blind, Anthony has defied the odds. At one point he wasn’t expected to survive. Now, he’s learning to walk again.

A military career had been a long-term goal for Anthony, who joined the air cadets at 15 and the Army at 16.

“I’d wanted to do it my whole life. To serve Queen and country. I knew I was training to go to war. But when you do go, it’s totally different.”

Anthony was deployed to Afghanistan and in 2010 was on foot patrol in Helmand Province when an Improvised explosive device (IED) went off beneath him. He was medically evacuated back to the UK and put in an induced coma. Doctors told his family not to hold out hope, and within days, his organs began shutting down.

But, despite losing his right eye in the explosion and suffering the worst brain injury his doctors the seen in 25 years, Anthony pulled through.

As a double amputee with other catastrophic injuries, Anthony faced many obstacles ahead. Family visited him in hospital in Birmingham, then made regular trips to Headley Court where his rehabilitation began. Anthony’s mum Shelley sat with him for weeks, helping him learn how to speak again.

But it wasn’t just his physical injuries he battled with.

“After I was injured, I felt like I was in hell. I attempted suicide maybe four or five times. It was a cry for help. I didn’t know what else to do.

“Technically, the rough patch is still going on. It will be going on for the rest of my life – what I’ve seen will always be in my head. I don’t think it’s possible to just wipe that out.”

But with our support, Anthony, now 31, is discovering that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“People were telling me that I can’t do sport because I’m blind, missing limbs, and missing the fingers on one hand. But Help for Heroes really encouraged me.

“Without Help for Heroes, I’d be lost. I’m in a better place now. If I’m struggling, I can ring up and ask for advice or help. Coming forward for support is probably the best thing you can do. I’m blind and I’ve got a head injury, but the support network through Help for Heroes is the best.”

While it takes strength to serve in the Armed Forces, it takes a different kind of strength to live life beyond injury. Some of our wounded heroes are living with injuries so severe, they are dependent on round-the-clock care. They were told they would never walk again, never talk again, never live independently again. But with the right support, they can defy the odds. #NeverSayNever

We support members of the Armed Forces community with their physical and mental health and a range of welfare issues.

If you are in pain, feel anxious, stressed or lonely, have money trouble, need support with housing or applying for benefits, or just need a listening ear, we can help.

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