Brendan Gordon served as an Army Medic and saw active tours of Kosovo and Northern Ireland. In 2010, he suffered a violent stroke that took away the use of his right arm: “I went from being a medic and being able to put needles into people’s arms to save them, to not being able to do anything. I’m right handed so that was it for me. I tried to take my own life soon after it happened because I just couldn’t see a future. Life wasn’t worth living.”
After receiving initial treatment, Brendan served a further two years as a practice manager of the Medical Centre at the Colchester Garrison. However, his right hand remained permanently locked and he was medically discharged in 2012.
Following further treatment, Brendan spent time at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House, in Colchester. He took part in health and physical wellbeing activities such as yoga, and the H4H staff introduced him to a local physiotherapist trialling innovative mobility technology.
Known as the SaeboGlove, it extends the tendons and retrains the brain on movement: “My physios told me that our brain has to do something 7,000 times for it to remember. Mine had forgotten I had a right hand as it has been clenched for five years. The glove is making my hand tell my brain it is still there.”
Noticing immediate benefits, Help for Heroes provided a grant of £1,000 for Brendan to purchase both the SaeboFlex and SaeboGlove. Since then, he has been practicing with it for up to six hours a day and the results have been extraordinary. In just a few months, he can now lift his arm to shoulder height and open and close his hand.
Brendan now refers to the technology as his miracle glove: “It’s difficult to put into words what this means. Thank God for Help for Heroes. I feel reborn again. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel. I just wish I had walked into the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre sooner.”
Brendan’s Physiotherapist, Glyn Blakey, has been equally impressed by his progress and determination: “We have many more months of physio ahead, but the grant from Help for Heroes for Brendan to purchase his own glove means he can practise every day.”
Dave Wilkinson, Brendan’s Support Hub key worker is also delighted Brendan is reclaiming the independence he thought was lost forever: “That’s our aim at Help for Heroes and this glove is doing that for Brendan. He and his entire family are benefiting from the grant and I’m so pleased to see the enormous progress he is making.”