A man who defied life changing injuries says his time at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital helped inspire him to start his own charity.
Phil Packer MBE severely injured his spinal cord on deployment with British Army in 2008.
Following treatment at the Stanmore Hospital he was able to walk again, raising millions for good causes, and the 41-year-old is now an ambassador for the RNOH redevelopment appeal.
Less than a year after his injuries Mr Packer rowed the English Channel and then completed the London Marathon in 2009 on crutches, despite taking 13 days to complete the course.
He said: “The support I got from Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital was pivotal in my recovery and really gave me a platform to do all work I have done since.
“Without the doctors, nurses and staff there I would not have be able to get this far.
“It is a leading hospital which has treated people from across the country and the appeal will really help it continue is great work.
“The care I received at the hospital both then and now has really allowed me to live a life.
“I remember when I was coming to the end of my treatment at Stanmore and I was in a wheelchair. There are several corridors with very steep slopes and I would challenge myself to get up there as quick as possible.
“During my time in recovery I saw a lot of people in the hospital who had horrific spinal injuries. I realised how lucky I was to have some mobility and I wanted to push myself and use it as much as I can.”
Mr Packer is an ambassador for RNOH Charity Redevelopment Appeal, which aims to raise £15 million to pay for additional facilities and equipment for the hospital, which is currently undergoing £90million redevelopment.
He said: “Since my treatment going back to Stanmore was hard because it was a difficult time while I was there, my whole live had changed a lot.
“But I was delighted to be asked to be an ambassador for the charity because it meant I was able to go back to support the hospital and not as a patient.”
In 2010 Mr Packer founded the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT), which aims to inspire young people facing adversity who are physically or mentally disabled, deprived, have medical conditions, are injured or wounded.
BRIT aims to be a ‘charities charity’, and build the first Centre of Inspirational Excellence. It will be a base for up to 60 organisations across the country to use with facilities to cater for young people.
In 2012 Mr Packer walked 2,012 miles around the country in 331 days, visiting every county and London borough to raise awareness of the trust.
He said: “The walk really took a lot out of me and it took me months to recover. I think now I am going to have to put a suit on and be chief executive of a charity.
“Having seen the work of charities and the people they help, some may be in a dark place and need help to rebuild their life and that’s what I want organisations to be able to do.”