It had the makings of a Hollywood movie script.
Five years ago, Rick and Leanne Clements met online. They started talking, developed a relationship and then eventually when they met in real life, they fell in love. Leanne had two children from a previous relationship and those kids also became a part of Rick’s life.
When Rick – who was a Sergeant in the British army – was sent to Afghanistan, the loving couple stayed in constant contact. Rick sent Leanne letters every week without fail. She sent him care packages filled with photos of home and the sweets he loved best.
And then one day in May 2011, Rick stood on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province and everything changed. According the the UK’s Telegraph: “He lost both legs, severely damaged an arm, suffered terrible internal injuries and was told that he could never have children or a sex life. Doctors told him that two years ago he would probably not have survived.”
Leanne said she found out about the accident, after receiving a phone call from Rick’s dad.
This from the Daily Mail:
‘I remember him saying, “Hiya chuck. Are you OK?” and I could just tell from his voice that something had happened to Rick. I screamed, “Is he dead? Tell me, for God’s sake. What’s happened?”
‘Graham told me what had happened. He said I should prepare for the worst. I remember feeling panic, sheer panic. It was like someone had their hands round my throat and I couldn’t breathe.’ Two hours later, Rick was being flown home and Leanne, Rick’s parents and his sister were on their way to the military hospital in Birmingham; they thought it would be to say their last goodbyes.
For months, Leanne sat by Rick’s side as he recovered. Rick learned that his life would never be the same; that he’d never work in the army again, that he’d spend his life in a wheelchair, that he’d never again have sex, that he’d never have children.
Rick reportedly told Leanne to leave him but she wouldn’t listen.
“We lay on the bed together and cuddled, and I said: ‘It’s OK. It doesn’t matter that we won’t have sex.’ And I meant it,” she said. “I thought: ‘I’ve got two kids and they love Rick,’ and I thought we’d have warmth, intimacy and that I could manage with that.”