Scar Free Foundation Are 'Literally Going To Change The World'

The organisation studies the effects of disfigurement, reconstructive surgery and visible loss of function.

The Scar Free Foundation is working to develop advanced healing procedures for those who have suffered extensive burns and wounds in the field of battle.

It has aided recovery for veterans Simon Harmer and Karl Hinett.

"I only made it outside the patrol base probably about 150 metres, when I activated an improvised explosive device which threw me in the air and I landed unconscious on the floor," Simon said, referring to being injured in 2009.

"My pants and my trousers had been blown off, my right leg was no longer there, my left leg was damaged irreparably, I damaged my right arm and I had a few other injuries as well. I was in a bit of a mess," he added.

"I didn't know if the next breath was going to be the last one."

Karl suffered 37% burns when he was injured at the age of 18.

"It was quite difficult at the time to try and understand how to cope," he said.

The Chief Executive of The Scar Free Foundation, Brendan Eley, said the organisation has been funding medical research for around the last 15 years.

The work looks at disfigurement, reconstructive surgery and visible loss of function.

Three years ago, it started to focus exclusively on the pursuit of scar free healing.

"That's now our mission - scar free healing within a generation," Brendan said.

The three main areas of the focus are:

  • Recovery from the battlefield - developing a new dressing which is impregnated with a pro-healing protein called decorin.
  • Revisiting old scars and wounds through a laser project - the repair of existing injuries.
  • Helping survivors return to an active life - supporting a large project in the psychological understanding of what is required to turn lives back to a positive state.
The Scar Free Foundation looks at disfigurement, reconstructive surgery and visible loss of function.

Simon Harmer said an important part of the study is to question and ask family members how they feel about their injured partner.

"Although this happened to me, it also happened to my wife, and she was left with the fallout of dealing with a change in the dynamics of our relationship," he said.

Karl Hinett did not believe there could be anything done to repair his 14-year-old scars:

"I was quite taken aback really, how quick and effective it [the laser treatment] was."

"They do deserve all the recognition they can get because they are literally going to change the world."

Simon told Forces News the regeneration process is about more than just the physical scars themselves:

"We want to show the world that you can move on from quite serious injuries, and from serious scarring, and you can stand up and face the world again, and become a productive member of society again."

Scar Free Foundation won the 'Innovation' Award at The Sun Military Awards for their work. 

Watch extended highlights of the Millies on Wednesday 12 February at 18:30 UK time on Forces TV, and at 19:10 UK time on BFBS Extra.

Cover image: Carrying out reconstructive work on damaged tissue.