Triple amputee reveals he felt ‘on top of the world’ after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – 13 years after he lost both his legs and one arm when he stepped on an IED while serving in Afghanistan
- Andy Reid, who lost both his legs and an arm, has climbed top of Mt Kilimanjaro
- 13 years ago, the army veteran lost limbs when he stepped on a Taliban IED
- He hopes his summiting the Tanzanian landmark can help inspire lives of others
An army veteran who lost both his legs and an arm while serving in Afghanistan has opened up about his inspirational trek up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Thirteen years ago, Andy Reid MBE had stepped on a Taliban IED, resulting in the loss of three of his limbs – and this month he celebrated having conquered the world’s highest single free-standing mountain above sea level.
The former Corporal, from St Helens, Merseyside, reached the Uhuru Peak summit in Tanzania on October 12, accompanied by his support crew and local guides.
The hero war vet incredibly scaled the 19,341ft high peak, despite having two prosthetic legs, in 13 days.
Appearing on Lorraine today, he explained he had let his mind wander to nice memories and focused on ‘putting one foot in front of the other’.
He said: ‘It was hard work…I’m still trying to sink in what I’ve actually achieved
Andy Reid (pictured) – who lost both his legs and an arm while serving in Afghanistan in 2009 – has opened up about his inspirational trek up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
The former Corporal (pictured during the climb) braved the mammoth achievement to raise money for his mental health charity, the Standing Tall Foundation
Andy lost both his legs and his right arm when he was blown up by a Taliban IED in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2009.
He was injured so badly that medics thought he wouldn’t make it.
But, incredibly he was back socialising with members of his patrol within the month, and threw himself into charity work once he was fully recovered.
The 46-year-old was recognised for his unstinting commitment to charity work with an MBE in the Birthday Honours three years ago.
The veteran (pictured during the climb) admitted the trek was ‘hard’, and revealed he now feels like he’s been ‘run over by a car’ – but said the thoughts of his family kept him going
The 46-year-old has raised £80,000 for The Standing Tall Foundation with the climb, a charity he started to help others with mental health, addiction and wellbeing-related issues.
He puts being able to complete the climb down to using a Thinair oxygen therapy machine which helped him prepare.
Andy initially used the machine for “mental clarity” but found it helped his physical health too – with the dad crediting the contraption with helping him and his crew beat altitude sickness, with only one member having to turn back.
Today, he explained: ‘Obviously I’ve got an amazing team of people around me from Preston Limb Centre, my surgeon, physio…helping me achieve that goal of climbing the mountain.’
It took his team 14 days to reach the summit, comprised of 12-hour walking days, including ones dedicated to rest and recovery. Pictured at Mount Kilimanjaro
Andy said he hopes his goal helps and inspires others who will be facing their own challenges.
‘Everyone’s got their own mountain to climb,’ he explained. ‘I climbed that mountain, and if that can inspire someone to get out of bed the next day or make a phone call or maybe leave the house then hopefully that’s a great thing to achieve.’
The veteran admitted the trek was ‘hard’, and revealed he now feels like he’s been ‘run over by a car’ – but said the thoughts of his family kept him going.
It took his team 14 days to reach the summit, comprised of 12-hour walking days, including ones dedicated to rest and recovery.
Andy said most people endeavour to complete the climb in a week, but they wanted to pace themselves and give best chance to get to top – as they ‘weren’t trying to break a record’.
Andy (pictured with Lorraine Kelly) also candidly opened up about the upcoming Remembrance Day, admitting it’s a challenging time of the year for him
Despite that, the former soldier revealed that they did achieve ‘the world’s highest food delivery’ by bringing a hamburger to the summit, albeit those who ate it ‘got quite ill’.
Andy also candidly opened up about the upcoming Remembrance Day, admitting it’s a challenging time of the year for him.
‘It’s a tough day for me,’ he said. ‘Some of my colleagues didn’t come home from Afghanistan…so out of respect for them, that’s why I push myself and keep moving myself forward.’
He added: ‘The NHS did an amazing job to keep me alive and get me where I am today…I’m very grateful to be here.’
Andy – who commemorated the thirteenth anniversary of the day he was injured in Afghanistan a day after he summitted – said he hopes his story offers people some hope and inspiration.
‘Thirteen years ago, I was on a stretcher in Afghanistan fighting for my life…and thirteen years later, top of the world,’ he said. ‘It shows what can be achieved with the right mindset and the right support.’
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