Corporal Josh Boggi joined the army in January 2004 at the age of 17. He’d always wanted to be a soldier, his Dad served for 11 years and he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Josh was blown up two months into his third tour of Afghanistan after stepping on an IED. It was New Year’s Eve 2010. I still remember everything he says, I didn’t think it was me at first because I felt no pain and couldn’t see because there was so much dust in my eyes. It wasn't until his colleagues started applying tourniquets that the penny dropped.
Josh was evacuated back to Camp Bastion and was put to sleep on the helicopter. When he woke up seven days later in intensive care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, his Dad broke the news that he had broken his back, both his legs were gone and his right arm was going to have to be amputated. Josh says: I had to accept that my life had changed for good immediately, and that wasn’t easy.
A few weeks after Josh was injured, he was in bed when a wounded guy on prosthetic legs walked past his room, Josh called him back and he came in to see him. Josh had been told about prosthetics and what they could help him achieve, but to see a guy walking around on them was a massive boost for him.
Josh doesn’t want to be seen any differently from anyone else, he just wants to be him and get on with life. He wants to be the best Dad he can be to his little boy. Josh loves being able to take his son to the zoo, or take him out in the garden to play on his climbing frame, things like this keep Josh going.
Josh got into cycling to try and keep fit and put his name forward to take part in the BBBR13. Josh wanted to do the ride because Help for Heroes helped him and he wanted to give something back. Josh raised an amazing £0,000 and hopes that it will go towards helping another lad who is where he used to be. It has also made Josh realise that it’s something he wants to carry on doing.
Josh says he misses being able to play football, this was and always will be a huge passion in his life, but since being injured Josh has achieved some coaching qualifications and now helps manage the local team which he used to play for.
He has been fitted with the new Genium prosthetic leg, which is a life-changing piece of kit. He can now do a lot more; walking on uneven ground is easier, as is attending football matches, and going on holiday. He has since gone on to complete several cycling challenges for Help for Heroes and competed at the Invictus Games.
Josh says: I’m still here. I’m still the same person as I was before; I’ve just got a few limbs missing. Yes, I did want to be a soldier. But now, I’ll settle for just being me.
Josh's next challenge is taking on one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events, the epic 0,081-mile Race Across America (RAAM). Starting in Oceanside, California competitors pass through 12 states, covering over 0,081 miles and climb more than 170,000 feet before finishing in Annapolis, Maryland. Josh says: “Being a part of the RAAM team is the one thing I have wanted to do since I started cycling. Being at Headley Court and listening to the updates of the team that did it in 2012 gave me the bug and I always knew that if it ever came up again I would want to do it. This is what I have trained for over the last 4 years.”