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BakerLaw Solicitors are pleased to support former soldier and Coldstream Guardsmen Franco Gasparotti - The Fight for Franco

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The Fight for Franco - 7-Sisters Challenge May 25th 2013

Former soldier and Coldstream Guardsman, Franco Gasparotti was seriously injured whilst on active service in Northern Ireland and subsequently discharged from HM Forces. He went on to develop the condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the harrowing incident that almost cost him his life and ended his promising army career. One of the effects of this condition was that Franco began comfort eating on a scale that saw his weight rise from a healthy 11 stone to that of a 27 stone morbidly obese person that doctors feared was within three months of certain death.

It was at this point that Franco found the charity Combat Stress. There his condition was diagnosed. They explained to him that he was comfort eating as a way of blocking out the memories of the incident in Northern Ireland. Yet, in spite of the huge difficulties that had overtaken his life, Franco remained a fighter!

As a former soldier in one of Britain's elite fighting regiments, Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards, Franco was able to call on his experiences of how to overcome adversity. Over the next 18 months he set about losing an incredible 17 stone and reducing his waist size from 72 inches to 32 inches and his body fat percentage levels from 68% to 17%. This was achieved through a fitness and healthy eating regime put together by Franco himself.

Following this marathon effort Franco approached his GP to apply for corrective surgery to remove large and unsightly skin folds left hanging from his body following such a huge level of weight loss. Franco's Local Primary Care Trust Panel at Epsom General Hospital informed his GP that he would have to prove he could maintain a stable weight and BMI level for approximately 2 years before they would consider him eligible for surgery.

Franco achieved this task and then reapplied. Yet Franco's case was turned down on no fewer than 4 occasions. New NHS regulations stated that they did not have to consider people for cosmetic surgery who have been victims of military conflict. Combat Stress has supported his case throughout but has now had all appeals rebuffed. This has left Franco with the task of raising the £27,000 required to pay for all corrective surgery and subsequent after care. He has now formulated a plan to raise these funds through the help of his friends and those he served with in his beloved regiment. He also has the support of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Services who have given Franco permission to stage his fundraising initiative within their very own organised 7-Sisters Challenge taking place on May 25th 2013.

Franco's fundraising team have formulated a plan. They require at least 100-plus walkers to take part in this event which would see participants walk either 8 - 12 or 25 miles of the Seven Sisters Challenge route with each individual raising a minimum of £200 pounds towards the above mentioned fundraising target.

This event will be professionally run by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Services and promises to be a great day out for all taking part. It will also be an opportunity for everyone who knows Franco to give their support in helping him complete his much needed surgery and journey of recovery and allow him to move forward with his life.

A fundraising account has been put in place and is being administered by the professional team of helpers put in place to run this fundraising initiative with all cheques made payable to 'The Franco Appeal' which has been set up with the help of Lloyds TSB Middleborough.

BakerLaw Solicitors are delighted to support Franco and have made a donation to his appeal. If you would like to make a donation to Franco's appeal, please donate by sending a cheque payable to the The Franco Appeal to 7 Queens Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6DJ.

See previous press coverage here: