December 27 - A special committee has been set-up in Oregon to send United States soldiers injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Paralympics in Vancouver next year.

At least 35 veterans from the State with physical disabilities or visual impairments will be part of the delegation going to the Games, more if additional funds are raised.

Preference will be given to those who would also qualify for the Paralympics based on their disabilities in the hope that it might inspire them to take up a sport for London 2012 or Sochi 2014.

The idea arose out of a meeting more than a year ago between Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Amy Keiter  who handles special projects in his office.

Kulongoski had just returned from meetings on the 2010 Olympics, also in Vancouver, when he told her "not to forget the Paralympics".

Operation Home Front, as the scheme is called, has raised $100,000 (£62,500) towards their goal and is taking applications from disabled veterans with physical or visual impairments to be part of the delegation.

The delegation will bus to Vancouver, take part in tours and activities including opening ceremonies and the first sledge hockey match.

Organisers also plan a remembrance ceremony with Canadian veterans.

Cheryl Kennedy, the chairwoman of the committee, said: "These people need to know there is life yet to be lived."

Among these expected to make the trip are Melissa Stockwell, a combat veteran and amputee, who started swimming at when she was still a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and went onto represent the United States at the 2008 Paralympic  Games in Beijing.