James Rose, 31 from Middlesbrough, an Afghan War Veteran and Invictus Games athlete, is aiming to be the first unaided military double amputee to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The funds raised will support Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion. The campaign is being backed by actor Brian Blessed, as well as numerous GB athletes.
“I want to give hope to other veterans and amputees and show them just how much their contribution means”
James is aiming to raise £30,000 to help achieve his goal of reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Joining the army in January 2008, James was posted to Afghanistan the following year. On patrol in November 2009, James heard a pressure plate (IED) click and he knew in a split second that his life was going to change. The results were devastating, a broken pelvis and tail bone and worse of all, the loss of both legs above the knee.
“As reality hit home, I became extremely frustrated. Would I be able to walk again with prosthetics? Would I need a wheelchair for the rest of my life? At the heart of this was my love for football, which I knew I could never play again. This led to depression and anxiety, and I’m very grateful for my family’s support in this. I was determined not be beaten by the injuries sustained defending my country and decided to pursue my passion for fitness that I had prior to my injury”.
James set himself many challenges, firstly rowing with a static chair, which gave him a new lease of life and pushed him to try and become a Para Rower. He achieved this feat in January 2014 and is now training with the Team GB Development team. In 2017, James conquered another challenge, cycling 65 miles with a hand cycle, for which he was awarded the “Local Hero Award for Courage”, in the Local Heroes Awards, a celebration of grassroots sport in the North East.
In 2018, James applied for the prestigious Invictus Games, and was selected to represent Team GB in Wheelchair Basketball and Sitting Volleyball in Sydney, securing Silver and Bronze medals. As a result of this success, James is now a full-time basketball player and trains every week.
During the Games, James met former RAF Corporal, Darren Young who suffers from a spine, shoulder injury as well as dealing with depression, and both decided to set themselves their next challenge: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Darren Young said “we’re both incredibly grateful for the support we’ve received so far having raised £4,422 of our £30,000 target. Sport challenges and the training involved have not only helped keep me fit physically, but also mentally, allowing me to gain confidence and help deal with depression and anxiety. Our team of five have dealt with / currently dealing with PTSD, anxiety and depression – those who have left the military/RAF and our loved ones who have been there to support us and also been affected. This is the next big challenge, and we couldn’t do it without the generous donations made on our JustGiving page. Through this, we hope to raise awareness of mental health issues, and support two fantastic causes, Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion”.
Their campaign is also being backed by actor, Brian Blessed as well as a host of professional and Olympic athletes, including boxer Antony Ogogo and GB gymnast Craig Heap.