Shaun Stocker’s life changed forever when he was just nineteen years old.
A frontline soldier, he was on a tour of Afghanistan when he stepped on a bomb planted by the Taliban – losing both his legs and becoming blind in one eye.
Eight years later, he’s determined to swap the pain of the past for a brighter future.
”I knew it was quite bad because I couldn’t move my legs below the knee. The muscles had been taken away, my legs were gone straight away.
Everything was black. I remember shouting to my guys to come and find me because I didn’t know where I was.
I just remember thinking hopefully it’s just dirt in your eyes. That once your face is washed and they’ve got all the debris away, you’ll be able to see something.
As they were calling the helicopter in to come and get me I heard over the radio, they were saying we had a double amputee over the radio.
So I knew my legs were gone from that moment on.”
Shaun went through six years of rehabilitation and surgery. He has now regained some sight in his right eye, but the other has been replaced with a prosthetic.
He has come to terms with his new life but remembers those first few months of recovery when he hit rock-bottom.
”It does go through your mind, what sort of life are you going to have?
I was 19-years-old, lying in a bed. I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t see. Not only learning to live with my new body but becoming an adult at the same time.
It was a tough time but I knew that I’d get through it. I thought that if I could make my life better in some way then I would have overcome everything that happened to me.”
Shaun had a much needed boost to his confidence when he received his new prosthetic limbs.
The more active he has become, the more the titanium limbs have been put through their paces. Last year saw him make a 1,000 mile journey across Western Australia.
Shaun now volunteers at his local hospice, and uses his army experience to support war veterans and new recruits.
This year he also received the British Empire medal for his charity work.
”I’m eight years down the line but I’ve lived two lifetimes in that eight years. And I’ve learnt the same amount to go with it.
I’m not the same person I was before I was injured. Because of that now I wouldn’t dream of going back to that day because I wouldn’t recognise myself.
It’s quite strange when I tell people that stepping on a bomb was the hardest thing that’s ever happened to me.
But it was the decisions that I made afterwards that actually made it the positive that it is today.”