By Kris Jepson
A soldier from Hartlepool who is paralysed from the chest down is hoping to raise enough funds to secure surgery that could potentially help him walk again.
Thirty-seven-year-old Warrant Officer Ian Witney of the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers has served in the military for 20 years, including completing three tours of Afghanistan.
In a tragic twist of fate, he was attacked by muggers whilst on holiday in Tenerife in 2016 and, as a result, he sustained injuries which damaged his spinal chord.
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Ian Witney has embraced sport to keep him focused as he prepares for a new lecturing career when he is discharged from the army in March.
He believes his dream of walking again could be in sight, and he aims to raise more than fifty thousand pounds for new surgery in Thailand, which has been trialled at the University of Louisville in the US.
Trials of the treatment in America have found that using stimulators, alongside rehabilitation, has helped some paralysed patients walk short distances again.
The treatment is not available in the UK and one expert explained that larger studies are needed before it could be considered in this country.