The British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association (BLESMA) has existed since after the First World War, starting out as a network of those who had lost limbs in service of their country. These networks evolved to become BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans, a national charity in 1932.
BLESMA has a legacy of helped wounded service personnel who have lost limbs or the use of limbs or eyes to rebuild their lives by providing them with rehabilitation and welfare support.
There is life after amputation
Our unique and pioneering rehabilitation programme, based on challenging sporting activities for amputees, is where we make an immediate impact. If you thought that losing a leg or two would stop you skiing, think again!
The physical achievements of taking part in our rehabilitation programme rebuilds confidence; experiencing that you can still do amazing things rebuilds lives. Sharing this experience with other amputees, whilst mentored by an experienced BLESMA member, helps injured service men and women tackle challenges head on and with pride.
Royal Marine, Mark Ormrod, was 24-years old and just four months into a tour of duty in Afghanistan when he stepped on a landmine. As he recalls:
“There was a huge explosion. I didn’t know what had happened. I thought we had come under attack. I knew in my head that I wasn’t moving like I should have been. Then as the sand and the dust settled, I looked down and I realised what had happened.”
Mark had lost both of his legs above the knee and was rushed to a field hospital where doctors had to amputate his right arm too. One of our team visited Mark in hospital back in Britain and was able to tell him about some of the amazing things other BLESMA amputees were doing. It was to be the start of a journey that would show him that he wasn’t alone, that there were other guys out there like him, who were not just getting on with their lives, but doing remarkable things.
Mark’s first goal was to master the use of prosthetic legs so he could receive his campaign medal standing up. He achieved this goal with only 5 months of rehab. Within a year of sustaining his injuries he was sit-skiing in Colorado on one of BLESMA’s rehabilitation activity breaks run by experienced military amputees and designed to rebuild confidence and self-belief.
“Skiing with BLESMA was awesome. It was great to get out of the hospital environment with a group of people in the same circumstances, to push myself to the limits again and party a little bit. It made me feel normal again.”
BLESMA for life
BLESMA supports its members for life – from veterans of the Second World War to the conflict in Afghanistan and all others in between. We support all military personnel who have been injured during their time of service, whether its whilst on duty or a road traffic accident.
Rehabilitation, support, counselling and care are the four principle foundations of our organisation. Together, we can help our men and women of the Armed Forces and their families face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence and self-belief.
For more information on how you can support us visit www.blesma.org, or call 020 8590 1124.
For Membership enquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org