To start off with I didn’t have any movement in my arms, and I couldn’t breathe on my own. I needed help with pretty much everything. Now, I hope to be in employment by the end of the year.
Former Royal Marine Dom Lovett was on a training exercise in 2008 when a freak accident rendered him paralysed from the neck down and fighting for survival. But with our support, the man who was once faced with breathing through a ventilator for the rest of his life is learning to feed himself, re-training for a new career and has even discovered extreme sports.
Dom’s injury took place during a cold-weather warfare course in Norway. Landing headfirst onto solid ice, his spine was crushed and his spinal cord severed at the midpoint of his neck.
“To start off with I didn’t have any movement in my arms, and I couldn’t breathe on my own. I needed help with pretty much everything.”
Initially told that he would never be able to breathe on his own, Dom defied the odds and eventually managed to come off his ventilator.
“I did some rehab at Stoke Mandeville, and then Headley Court - and the rest is history.”
In the weeks and months following his injury, Dom adapted well with the support of doctors and clinical teams. However, things took another downward turn.
“It was only probably a year after my injury that I really thought ‘well, this is me now.’ After the physio, all the rehab, I knew this was as far as I was going to come. That’s when it hit home. And being medically discharged from the Royal Marines, that was a tough period. Actually adapting to the disability itself was quite easy in comparison to transition.”
Dom first came into contact with us during his time at Headley Court, but it’s in the last two years that he’s benefitted most from the support we’ve been able to give him.
“Help for Heroes has helped no end with my mental and physical wellbeing. The equipment they’ve been able to supply me with has made me a lot more independent. I’m unbelievably grateful, they’ve managed to just completely change my life around.
“My parents have had help too, they’ve had someone to lean on rather than trying to do it just themselves, people they can talk to. They’ve been able to get some funding for things, which I didn’t really expect Help for Heroes to be able to do.”
The ability to leave his own home and mix with other veterans has had a massive impact on both Dom and his family. It has allowed Dom to spend time away with his family on a regular basis as well as attend social events. He’s even tried abseiling.
We have now funded adaptive technology that will allow Dom to feed himself for the first time in over a decade. Dom is now spending time at the charity’s Recovery Centre in Catterick, Phoenix House, and has big plans for the future.
“I’m now working with a careers advisor to do a counselling course or a life coaching course. I think that would be so beneficial to me, and the kind of route I’d like to go down as a future career. We’ve been looking at what courses are out there, and a university or higher education college to go to. I hope to be in employment by the end of the year.”
Dominic is one of almost 40,000 people whose lives have been derailed by injury. Join our mission to help all wounded veterans stand strong.
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