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awesome - Disfigured Veteran With Scars Says Hi To 5-Year-Old. Her Response Brings Millions To Tears

    When Simon Brown met young Tempy, he didn’t know what to expect. He knew his disfigured face was not a pretty sight, and it often caused children to have unpredictable reactions. But as soon as the little girl started talking, Simon knew that this time was different. And she impacted him more than she could ever realize.
    Oliver Dixon
    Simon is a former British Armed Forces member, having served as a Royal Engineer for thirteen years. His seven-month deployment in Iraq came to an abrupt end in December 2006, when a transport carrying six of his colleagues broke down and was attacked. Simon came to their aid and successfully rescued them. But as he was leaving the area, he was nearly killed.


    Daily Express
    He had been shot by a sniper rifle. The bullet entered Simon’s left cheek and exited through his right one. The impact destroyed both his cheekbones, shattered his left eye, and severely maimed his right one. “Thank God I didn’t pass out,” he remembers. “My palate had collapsed and I couldn’t breathe. I put my thumb in my mouth to hold it up and keep my airway open.” He was in danger of suffocating.


    Twitter/sima_kotecha
    Simon was taken to nearby Basra Palace for an emergency tracheotomy. Then he was airlifted to his base where he underwent surgery and was put into an induced coma. The next day he was flown back to Britain. He would need many more operations to rebuild his face, and was now functionally blind. His life had been turned upside down, and he didn’t know how to cope with his new reality.


    The London Economic
    He spent a lot of time at Selly Oak hospital, where he received treatment and rehabilitation. Simon’s nose and cheekbones were reconstructed using titanium, his jaw was completely remolded and he was fitted with a prosthetic eye. But he still had to learn to live as a blind man. Thankfully, he wasn’t all on his own.


    Blind Veterans UK
    Simon received support from Help for Heroes and Blind Veterans UK, two charities dedicated to helping injured veterans go back to a normal life. With their financial, practical, and emotional support, Simon was able to adjust to his new situation and learn how to live independently. But maintaining his self-confidence is an everyday struggle.


    Bryan Adams
    Eleven years after his injury, Simon has undergone 25 operations to rebuild his face. But his scars and prosthetic eye are still quite visible. He knows he stands out when he’s out in public. He tries not to let it get to him, but it isn’t always easy. Especially when he’s around children because he’s afraid to scare them. But that all changed when he met Tempy.


    YouTube/HelpforHeroesTV
    Temperance Pattinson, known as Tempy, is a five-year-old girl from Darlington. When she was three, she asked her mom, Emily, why people were wearing red poppies. Her mother told her about the Poppy Appeal, the Royal British Legion’s fundraising effort to help veterans reintegrate to civilian life. Tempy immediately knew she wanted to help — and she did so in the most amazing way.


    YouTube/This Morning
    “It was the concept that someone would put their life at risk to keep her safe when they hadn’t even met her,” explains Emily. Tempy swam a 100m race, raising £53 for Help for Heroes. The next year she undertook a mini-triathlon and raised £450. Then the charity told her about their new campaign, “Facing It Together.” It was her opportunity to finally meet a veteran.


    YouTube/HelpforHeroesTV
    Help for Heroes planned a video shoot where Tempy would get to meet an injured veteran to have a short conversation. They chose Simon, who was one of the first soldiers helped by the charity. Simon didn’t know what to expect when they told him he’d be sitting right across from a five-year-old girl. But as they both sat down and started talking, he knew this was an experience like no other.


    YouTube/HelpforHeroesTV
    Tempy started by introducing herself. Her manner was confident and she looked Simon straight in the eye. She was unfazed by his strange appearance. Feeling more at ease, Simon also introduced himself and told her how he became injured. “What was the thing you got shot by again?” asked Tempy. She didn’t seem to mind the grisly details. Next, it was his turn to ask her a question.


    YouTube/HelpforHeroesTV
    Simon asked Tempy why she swam 100m and raced in a triathlon. “Because even though I didn’t know any soldiers I just thought that they did something for us. I just thought I can give a present back to them by raising them money,” she answered. “I am quite proud of the soldiers.” These words almost brought Simon to tears.


    Oliver Dixon
    The veteran told Tempy he and the rest of the soldiers were also proud of her. “I’m 38-and-a-half and I can’t do a triathlon,” he quipped. Tempy then went on to confess she was afraid to ride her bike during the triathlon. But she still did it, using stabilizers. Simon knew then this was no ordinary little girl.


    Help for Heroes
    “You like to challenge yourself, don’t you,” he asked her. “Yes, because the soldiers challenge themselves,” she replied. Simon went on to thank her for what the challenges she takes on, noting that the money she raises helps people like him rebuild their lives. “So that’s why people like you are our heroes.” Tempy smiled, knowing exactly what to say.


    Help for Heroes
    “And people like you are mine,” said the little girl. They fist-bumped, and the video ended. It was later posted on Help for Heroes’ YouTube channel, but it wasn’t until The Sun shared it on their website that it exploded. Within two days, it had racked up 25 million views. The public was smitten with Tempy and Simon, and they wanted to see more of the pair.


    YouTube/This Morning
    Shortly after the video went viral, Simon, Tempy, and her mother appeared on ITV’s “This Morning.” The show’s host asked Tempy what she thought when she first saw Simon. “That he looked really brave,” was her response. She also announced her next challenge would be a 5k race. “I believe she’ll continue fundraising for the rest of her life,” said her mother.

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