A blind double-amputee veteran who used to be based at Dale Barracks will return to Chester as part of an extraordinary charity challenge using his new prosthetic legs.
Twenty-five-year-old ex-fusilier Shaun Stocker’s life changed forever when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device just six days before the end of his tour of Afghanistan in 2010.
He lost both his legs and his sight.
Having spent the past few years learning how to walk again with prosthetics, inspirational Shaun – who lives in Wrexham with his fiancée Persia Haghighi – has vowed to raise £50,000 for Blind Veterans UK by walking 100km in a campaign called Stocker’s Strides.
On April 10, he will walk 8km of his target by completing five laps of Chester Racecourse and is inviting members of the public to keep him company.
“I now want to raise awareness and money for Blind Veterans UK because they have helped me so much over the past five years,” explained Shaun.
“Losing my legs was really hard, but losing my eyesight was much harder because we are very visual creatures.
“That is why the work Blind Veterans UK does is so crucial.”
After undergoing several operations, Shaun has regained 30% sight in his right eye, and pioneering surgery on his limbs in Australia means he has not required the use of a wheelchair for eight months.
In spite of also losing his testicles in the bomb blast, Shaun’s dream came true last Christmas Day when Persia gave birth to their ‘brilliant’ baby son Theo.
The couple, who are due to marry later this year, were able to start a family thanks to a revolutionary technique called sperm salvage and a subsequent course of IVF.
Shaun said he is in a ‘very different place’ now than he was five or six years ago, and would not change his life now for anything.
He added how nice it will be to return to the racecourse, where he received his campaign medal from the Queen for his service with the Royal Welsh regiment.
While Shaun racks up strides, two other events will take place at the racecourse.
The sighted guide walk will see people walking one to three laps of the course in pairs under blindfold, while the superhero sprint will see participants running around dressed as their personal hero.
Victoria Beech, regional fundraiser for Blind Veterans UK, said: “Shaun has been working hard during his period of rehabilitation to raise awareness and funds for Blind Veterans UK – to help us support ensure service personnel with sight loss can also lead full and independent lives.”
To register for the sighted guide walk or superhero sprint, contact Victoria on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01492 864574.
To donate to Stocker’s Strides, click here.