Andy Campbell  
SCI - Parapalegic L1/L2  

A dedicated soldier and veteran of many recent military operations, including Iraq, I was forced to re-build my life after spending seven long months in hospital recovering from nearly fatal injuries.

My legs, hips, pelvis and spinal column were all broken when the belay gave way whilst abseiling from the top of a climb and falling some 50ft onto rocks; instantly paralysing me from the waist down. Even so, I began the fight to reclaim my sense of adventure from a hospital bed.
Lying immobile flat on my back for almost 5 months while bones healed and re-joined, I dreamt of new ways to explore the world and seek out adventure.

   
   
www.TheAndyCampbell.com
     
 
Those dreams are beginning to be realised, but only after a long road to recovery with a personal determination that began with bench-pressing pillows during the middle of the night to escape the physical confines of doctors' orders. With a focused and determined attitude, I was skiing in Sweden within 3 months after leaving hospital and became the first ever wheelchair user to paraglide from the 6000ft Babadag Mountain in southern Turkey. This was done 16 months after being resuscitated in surgery following the accident.
 

Continuing to explore and find adventure wherever I can, I've attacked life and will continue to do so, finding ways to challenge a disabilty that wants to keep me on pavements and flatground. During the winters I'm ski training in Canada and Europe with the aim of gaining a place on the UK Ski Team for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and dreaming up ways to spend the summer training and exploring.
   
 


Paragliding over Turkey, swimming with sting-rays in Australia, diving with Great White Sharks in Africa, and Heli-Skiing down the peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains all share one common factor, being outdoors. The lure of the mountains and simply being in the natural environment brings a sense of freedom and peace.

Fundraising for the Edale Mountain Rescue Team that organised my rescue and evacuation remains a passion; trying in some small way to return the favour of saving my life. Hand-Cycling the length of the UK, from John O’Groats to Land-End, was an arm-shattering journey of almost 1000 miles to add to the total of £8000 raised for the voluntary Rescue Team.

     
           

Currently, I'm attempting to realise another dream. My hopes of competing in the 2010 Winter Paralympic games as part of the British Adaptive Ski Team remain a constant goal to work towards. This includes training in Canada for the northern hemisphere’s winter season before traveling to Australia and New Zealand; following the snow down for winter in the southern hemisphere.

Outdoor life and being in the hills is continues to be a major draw to me, I’m trying to find new ways to reclaim the wilderness for people in wheelchairs. I hope to put my experiences together to help other people with disabilities get outdoors and push the limits of accessibility to enjoy places and experiences normally out of bounds to wheelchairs. Hopefully this will lead to expeditions and some great adventures in the future.

 

More on Andy at: http://www.theandycampbell.com