Hi , please can I start by saying thank you for taking the time to read through our amazing team at VetRun180 who are hell bent on helping others.
I’m Steve Sampher and I’m in my 24th year of service. I joined the Army in 1995 joining the The Light Dragoons, a Formation Reconnoissance Regiment undertaking operational tours in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was on my last deployment in 2012 to Afghanistan which was a very high tempo and kinetic tour, as the Brigade Reconnoissance Squadron on Op Herrick 16 I was involved in an IED explosion that launched my Scimitar Light Tank 10-15ft into the air and landed on its roof…This caused significant damage to my right leg, I was assessing the damage and trying to evacuate my crew to safety when we came under secondary attack from small arms fire. We returned fire and during the heated firefight it was at that point I was shot in the helmet, this shot rendered me unconscious and caused a bleed to the brain and a traumatic brain injury. Numerous operations followed to my head and leg but unfortunately my right leg had to be amputated above the knee in Mid 2017.
The 5 years of constant operations, ill health, rehabilitation at Headley Court and incidents that happened on previous operational tours took a massive toll on my mental heath and I had to be sectioned for my own safety and that of others several times.
In late 2017 I contracted blood clots in my heart and lungs as a result of the amputation which nearly killed me. I was in ICU for three weeks trying to get the clots under control this lead to most of 2018 trying to recover and adapting to the amputation, it was at this time I can honestly say I was a my lowest point. I hated what I was putting my family through and didn’t like what I was becoming. I was reluctant to leave my home, I hated being around people, I just wanted to be on my own pushing everyone close to me away, I locked myself away in my garage for days on end just to be on my own. I was slowly just shutting down and I found myself again planning to take my own life. I just looked upon myself as a massive burden on all my loved ones and everyone around me.
In 2019 this is when Matt and the Vetrun180 family reached out to me and got me on one of their expeditions to Galicia Northern Spain. I totally didn’t know what to expect? With no pressure I was made to feel at ease and very comfortable and welcome around the group. I can honestly say at that point in time it saved my life and gave me some direction and challenges, being around other servicemen and women it made me realise it’s not just me going through horrible times but as we got into the expedition you see other folks are struggling too.
All the different story’s and journeys people are on we helped each other, supported one another in all aspects and having the camaraderie of the group you soon slip back into that comfortable banter, laughing and joking, what we all know and love about our Military family.
And to be asked to be one of Vetrun180’s team leaders is massive! This has given me a huge focus and direction to help and support others participating in future expeditions. I have now completed a FREC 3 trauma medics course, a mental health first aid course and a LANTRA 4×4 off road operating qualification all provided by VetRun180 to give me the skills required in being a team leader
“If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you”
“Life’s hard, a driving expedition is harder”