Letchworth charity set to help war heroes to breathe

Carol Freeman, Sue Filby, Ian Maitland and David Powell inside the chamber

Carol Freeman, Sue Filby, Ian Maitland and David Powell inside the chamber - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth-based charity is offering oxygen therapy treatment to injured soldiers after being inspired by how the treatment helped a former paratrooper who lost both legs and suffered brain damage after fighting in Afghanistan.

Mark Boscher, manager, with the oxygen chamber

Mark Boscher, manager, with the oxygen chamber - Credit: Archant

The Hertfordshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre wants anyone who has sustained injuries while serving in the armed forces to come forward, to see if the treatment can help change their lives like it did for soldier Ben Parkinson.

Ben – who lost both legs and was in a coma for four months from a bomb explosion – can now walk using crutches, and has improved speech after he underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy, in which pure oxygen is breathed through a mask in a special chamber.

Charity chief executive Mark Boscher, pictured above right, said: “We were so inspired by Ben’s story and thought: wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could make contact with injured people living locally, and help them just like Ben was helped?

“It would be an amazing privilege. I’m sure there are people living here who could benefit from this.

“As a charity we rely on donations, so it’d be fantastic if there’s someone who could afford to help pay for an injured soldier’s treatment.”

Julia Bradbury, a patient from the therapy centre in Campus Five who used oxygen treatment in her fight against breast cancer, championed the move to offer free treatment to war veterans.

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She said: “I think this is wonderful news. We owe so much to our war veterans who have often sacrificed their lives, or limbs.

“It would be so beneficial for them to assist in their recovery. I take my hat off to the centre for their generosity in assisting these courageous heroes who are often overlooked in the UK.”

Speaking about her own experience of the therapy, she added: “It has given me a renewed vigour and vitality to assist in daily life.”