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 casevaced 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 to 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 keeps 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 £5,000 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 said 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.
Josh 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 – Josh was climbing castles in the South of France this summer, something he never thought possible before being fitted with his new legs.
Help for Heroes has helped Josh in many ways: from buying him a one handed control pad for his PlayStation to helping with funding for the adaptations to his house.
'No matter what, H4H will always be there for me' says Josh, 'there is always someone at the end of the phone should I need them'.
Josh leaves the Army at the end of the year and has a few ideas about what he’s going to do next. He has just been fitted for a new, lighter, more aerodynamic handbike and he is going to start racing with Team Battle Back. With a lot of hard work Josh hopes he can make the Paralympic team for Rio in 2016.
"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."