Former Royal Artillery gunner Lee Warburton suffered a severe spinal injury during a training exercise that left him unable to use his right foot and having to endure a series of gruelling operations.
Now although the 25-year-old dad of two is awaiting an operation to amputate his right leg below the knee, he is in training to hand crank his bike 561 miles to raise money for forces charity Help For Heroes.
Lee said he wanted to give something back after being supported by the charity like so many other veterans with rehabilitation exercises, access to sports, and mental health and wellbeing services.
Lee, who lives in Bispham, is also planning a gala dinner at Viva Blackpool on November 11, featuring Nathan Grisdale and singer-songwriter Passmore, to raise more money for the charity and highlight its work on the Fylde coast.
Lee said: “I am setting off from the Comedy Carpet near Blackpool Tower on August 8 and am hoping people will come along to support me.
"I was a keen recumbent cyclist, but having lost the use of my leg, I switched to hand bikes. It’s all very new, you really have to time your gear changes well particularly going up hill or the chain comes off.
"I have done a lot of training in the gym to prepare and have a support team of four. Currently we are looking to borrow a small van, big enough to put the 6ft long bike in if it breaks down.”
Lee joined the army in 2012 becoming a gunner and serving in Canada Germany and the UK, but had his accident in 2015.
He explained: "I had picked up an injury in training but just carried on as it was only a niggly one, but then got hurt again. We were on exercise and I had some extra weight in my Bergen (back-pack) carrying kit for a friend. The strapped snapped, swinging the weight to one side and I fell into a ravine damaging my spine.
"It was fine for a bit, you just carry on when you are in the army, but eventually the doctors investigated and decided to operate in 2018.
"But because it was left for so long, I ended up with severe nerve damage on my right leg.
"I had several spinal operations but they did not work and I cannot bear weight on that leg and it feels like it is on fire. I am now waiting for the amputation in the next eight months.”
He said one of the reasons his ride was important was to highlight help available from the charity for veterans who are struggling.