Major Phil Packer was injured in February, 2008, following an incident involving a rocket attack - causing catastrophic injuries with spinal cord damage and is now a paraplegic. His philosophy is to work with determination, teamwork and dignity.
As he began to recover, he decided to make it his mission to raise £1 million for Help for Heroes, a British Charity launched in September 2007 to help provide better facilities for wounded British servicemen and women. He set himself a series of challenges. The first major one began with a row of the English Channel in February 2009 sponsored by Wellspect HealthCare. In April, Phil commenced a two-week walk of the Flora London Marathon, with the support of Wellspect HealthCare. Wellspect HealthCare is also sponsoring the ultimate challenge in June 2009, find out more below!
Phil remains a serving Army Officer who hopes to make a difference to disability within the Armed Forces and support his Chain of Command, Tri-Services and Service Charities when he returns to work later this year.
The row began just after midnight Saturday 14th Feb, with a support boat and crew from Woodvale Challenge. Piloted out of shipping lanes by the Dover Harbour Master, Phil and Al rowed either as a pair or solo to allow each other time to rest and check Phil’s physical condition- being vital to maintain heat and check circulation in his legs. The rowers took advantage of tides where possible, fighting against strong winds and waves, in freezing temperatures. Frequently challenged by currents from shipping lane traffic, they arrived into Calais Harbour at 15.00 GMT. ‘’Phil’s Million’’, in support of Help For Heroes had at this early stage, reached over £154,000.
Phil had a host of famous supporters wishing him luck with his fundraising, including Prince Charles, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Sean Bean.
This helps support Phil’s aim to portray a positive image of disability and inspire others to take on challenges that may have seemed out of their reach.
Using crutches, Phil walked two gruelling miles a day – the maximum doctors would allow - and completed the Marathon route nearly two weeks after he started.
Along the route Phil was joined by various organisations and individuals who wanted to show their support and urge him onwards: From the City of London Police and the Coldstream Guards, to Wellspect HealthCare Territory Managers, most notably Aradhana Sharma-Marin (pictured with Major Packer below) who met Phil on her visits to Stanmore when he was newly injured.
It was an emotionally-charged and spirited journey that a visit to www.philpacker.com will allow you to follow the important aspects of it. The result of this amazing achievement has meant Phil has become a inspiration to the nation. It has also meant that he has ALREADY REACHED his target of £1 million!!! Incredible to think so much support has been raised from just two major events.
There is no rest for Major Packer. Sponsored once more by Wellspect HealthCare, he flew out to the US and prepared to climb El Capitan in Yosemite by pulling himself 1800ft in three days.This involved approximately 4000 pull-ups. It was the last event before Phil devotes his efforts to providing opportunities for people with disabilities and raising the profile of disability sports.
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