Specialist wound care to rebuild the lives of physically injured ex-service men and women
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Imagine twice beating cancer and then getting a different condition that left you confined to a wheelchair.

Funny, tough and optimistic, ex-soldier Bob Barrett was successfully treated for non-Hodgins lymphoma in 2005, a type of blood cancer, and then non-Hodgins lymphoma of the spine in 2010.

Treatment was successful, but his right leg became massively swollen. His oncologist diagnosed lymphoedema, a side-effect of the chemotherapy which damaged his lymphatic system.

“My right leg started to swell. Eventually both legs became enormous.”

But the former Household Cavalry trooper had beaten cancer and started going to the gym in a bid to help self-manage the chronic, incurable condition with exercise.

Then, about a year later, Bob found himself unable to walk and taken to hospital. This time he was diagnosed with Cauda Equnia Syndrome which destroyed the nerves at the base of his spine and left him with paralysis and loss of sensation below the waist.

Confined to a wheelchair, Bob first got in touch with Woundcare4heroes for help with pressure ulcers. As a complex case, he has received one-to-one medical care and support.

The 68-year-old said: “My skin is so thin – like rice paper – from sitting in my wheelchair so much. Eventually, I started to get pressure sores on my buttocks which were very painful. My friend said I needed to see a tissue viability nurse, but they are like gold dust, so she researched online and found Woundcare4heroes.

“Overnight, my life changed because there was this voice at the end of the phone who said these wonderful words ‘you tell him he has found the right person to get the care he needs.’

“Claire from Woundcare4heroes knew exactly what to do and took over my wound care with support from my district nurse to make sure I didn’t get pressure sores any more. She not only assisted me with dealing with my wounds but provided me with the right ointments and dressings and gave advice.

“She looked at where I slept and the charity got me a new pressure-relieving mattress, cushion and reclining chair. I can’t sleep in a bed as I can’t straighten my spine.”

Woundcare4heroes also arranged for a rapid referral and assessment of his hugely swollen legs. It had been five years since Bob had received any NHS treatment for build-up of fluid in his legs. There is no national lymphoedema service in England (unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) so treatment is scarce.

Since 2016, Bob has been treated three times a week by a specialist therapist, a service this charity partly funds. His treatment includes negative pressure manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), Kinesio Taping, bandaging and skin care.

Bob said: “If I don’t have my treatment and don’t keep my legs up or wear wraps, they double in size very quickly"

 “I don’t know what I would have done without Woundcare4heroes. I was absolutely stunned that someone cared so much and finding out about the charity has certainly improved my life no end. I am a very lucky man.”

Bob joined the Life Guards, the most senior regiment in the British Armed Forces, in 1967 as a 16-year-old. He served with them for three years before leaving the armed forces and holding a variety of jobs, including night club manager, chauffeur and entrepreneur.

In 2004 he found himself homeless. The Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation for injured and sick ex-servicemen and women stepped in and gave him a flat overlooking Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge.

Bob, who wanted to give back, set up The Beef Kitchen charity, serving football fans with all the profits going to Stoll. Field Marshall Lord Gutherie opened the café which still provides training and employment for ex-service personnel.

In 2010, Bob was recognised for his contribution to charity, winning the Royal British Legion Friends of the Forces Award.

“I don’t know what I would have done without Woundcare4heroes. I was absolutely stunned that someone cared so much and finding out about the charity has certainly improved my life no end. I am a very lucky man.”


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Registered office: Woundcare4Heroes Anthony Kerr, MA HEALTHCARE LIMITED, St Judes Church, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London, SE24 0PB.
Registered Charity number: 1149034  |  Copyright © 2019 Woundcare4Heroes