Going for gold! Josh Boggi, an injured ex-Royal engineer, aims high for the 2020 Paralympics
After losing three limbs in a Taliban bomb blast in Afghanistan on New Year’s Eve in 2010, Josh Boggi, a corporal in the British Army, had to accept that his life had – at that moment – changed forever.
Following the attack, the 24-year-old had been transferred back to Camp Bastion in Helmand Province and put into an induced coma on a helicopter, before waking up seven days later in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
It was at this point that Josh’s dad broke the news to him; his back had been broken, both his legs were gone and his right arm needed to be amputated.
When he finally left hospital, the Royal Engineer – who joined the Army in 2004 at the age of 17 – was determined to get on with life and this included being the best dad he could be, to his young son. Additionally, Josh got into cycling to try and return to fitness and eventually took part in one of the Big Battle Bike Rides organised by Help for Heroes in 2014 – the first triple amputee to do so.
Keen to step up his training in order make cycling his every day job, Josh moved from his home in Binfield, Berkshire in order to be closer to Tidworth, a garrison town in Wiltshire, which is known for the Tedworth House Recovery Centre which is run by Help for Heroes and has one of the best gyms in England for the disabled.
Josh, who was later fitted with life-changing prosthetic legs and now rarely uses a wheelchair, bought a beautiful 200-year-old two-bedroomed, semi-detached cottage in Salisbury with his wife Anna who works for Help for Heroes.
The couple, who grew up as children together in Windsor, Berkshire, got back in touch when Anna learnt he had been injured. They married in 2016.
The cottage needed adaptations to suit Josh’s specific requirements. The plan was to extend the property with an extra bedroom upstairs and a utility room and office downstairs.
Josh also wanted to find an easier way of moving between floors and after carrying out some research on the internet he decided a Stiltz Home Lift would best suit his needs because it not only looked good, but was practical and stylish too. The thing he liked most about the Stiltz Trio Wheelchair Lift was not just its design and compactness, but that it was still spacious enough to accommodate his wheelchair when he did use it.
Josh said: “The Stiltz Lift is unbelievable and has had made a huge difference to my life. It means if I take my prosthetic legs off, I don’t have to climb up the stairs. I can do it if I have to, but having the lift makes life much simpler and easier.
“I wanted our home to look as normal as possible and not like a hospital with what can sometimes be unattractive looking lifts and wet rooms. My Stiltz Lift tucks into the corner and it looks really stylish. It is fully enclosed and just plugs into the wall which is also great as there are no hydraulics.
“I only use my wheelchair if I have to, so only now and again, but the fact I can fit it in the lift is also good news for me. It’s a brilliant product and worth every penny – and you can’t put a price on quality of life.”
In 2016, Josh realised one of his dreams by representing the United Kingdom Armed Forces Team at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida where he won two gold medals and two silver medals in cycling and indoor rowing – using a machine called an ergometer which he had never used before. He previously won bronze in cycling at the first-ever Invictus Games in 2014 Games in London – an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event which was created by Prince Harry for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel.
Josh was presented with the Overcoming Adversity award as part of The Sun’s Annual Military Awards in 2013 after cycling 420 miles on a handbike from Paris to London to raise money for injured comrades.
He is currently training to be apart of the Help for Heroes team for the Race Across America (RAAM) next year – which has been dubbed the world’s toughest bicycle race. Racers must cycle 3,000 miles across 12 states and climb over 170,000 vertical feet. Josh’s ultimate aim is to represent Great Britain at the Paralympic Games.