In April 2023, three young men with life changing spinal cord injuries will attempt to cross Vatnajokull, the largest ice cap in Western Europe. They will be linked together by a single rope, and without any support or guidance will make the journey as a united team. One was an adventurer, one a professional rugby player, and one a soldier and a mountaineer. Each of these men have had everything that gave them purpose and meaning stripped away from them. Each of them faced the possibility that everything they'd ever dreamt of having was going to be gone forever. But, in their own unique way, each of them recovered.
Ed, Niall and Darren have set out to raise vital funds for the Millimetres 2 Mountains Foundation to help more people aid their recovery from trauma by using the great outdoors. Not only that, they want to use this expedition to show that sometimes a terrible diagnosis is not necessarily a terrible prognosis. You can still go on to achieve amazing things with your life within the realms of a body that isn't quite as able as it was before. Be that someone like Niall McCann who is incomplete paraplegic, or Ed Jackson who is incomplete quadriplegic or Darren Edwards who is complete paraplegic. The biggest barrier is often inside people's heads, and we want to remove that barrier.
The team are setting out to make an unsupported 155km traverse of Iceland’s Vatnajokull Glacier. They will spend two weeks on the ice hauling all of their own gear and no able bodied person there to assist them. Darren will be travelling in a sit ski (propelling himself along using poles), Ed and Niall have walking difficulties and sensation loss in their lower limbs and will be on cross country skis. Storms, crevasses, temperatures down to -20 and limited visibility - these are just what the ice cap will throw at them. Add in the challenges of operating in this environment when you have little or no sensation below the waist and all have to fit in one tent and it becomes a massive challenge.
Their aim is to raise £155,000, £1,000 for every kilometre that they traverse over the icecap. As well as financial support for Millimetres 2 Mountains they would also like to increase public awareness of the mental health challenges of people who have had life changing injuries and how these can be overcome to redefine each individual. If this is achieved they will end up supporting 24 beneficiaries through a year of M2M activities, and fund two new “Vatnajokull beneficiaries” through the full 3 year M2M programme.
To find out more about how you can support Ed, Niall & Darren please head over to their Just Giving Link - https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/back2back.