Military Patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
By donating to, or fundraising for, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine fund within Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, you know that the monies raised will be used to support military patients and staff, as well as military patients’ families.
Sponsor former military patient, Karl Hinett, on his continued marathon running and now climbing Everest in 2012!
Karl has also been picked to run a leg of the Olympic torch relay.
A brave former soldier from Tipton who survived being burned alive when his Warrior tank was petrol bombed during a rescue operation in Iraq ran 52 official marathons in 2011 to help others and now wants to take that figure to 100 in 2012, as well as climbing Mount Everest.
As a thank you to the burns unit staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, who cared for him when he was flown home following the attack, Karl Hinett, 23, will continue to run around the globe for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) Charity.
In typical self-effacing style Karl, who is funding the challenge himself using his army pension, said: “Raising money to help other patients on the unit through the QEHB Charity is the least I can do to thank the fantastic doctors and nurses who saved my life and enabled me to achieve what I have.
“To me, anything is possible. A few months after the attack I ran the London Marathon to prove I could. My time wasn’t great but I’ve improved a lot since, having now done 11 marathons all over the world. I’ve become a bit of an adrenaline junkie, doing skydiving, bungee jumping, motor bike racing, anything which pushes me to the limit. I just want to do as much as possible and the next thing always has to better – I never give myself enough credit.”
Karl, who is the eldest of six and now lives in Dudley, left school at 16 and after a brief spell working in a glass factory, joined the Staffordshire regiment at 17.
“I loved being in the army and did well, winning a ‘best recruit in training’ award,” said Karl, who was posted to a base in the centre of Basra at 18. “If I hadn’t been medically discharged I would have gone back to the frontline as that was my job.”
Karl was in Iraq for just five months when he was injured on the 19th September 2005. His regiment was part of a rescue operation to free two British soldiers who had been captured and held in Basra.
“A riot had broken out and we were the first tank on the scene,” explained Karl. “The sights had been broken by people throwing bricks and so we had to open the hatches to see what was happening. Someone threw a petrol bomb. I remember the smell and then feeling the dampness through my uniform. When I was alight I didn’t feel any pain – I guess it must have been the shock at first.
“I remember my commander, who was also alight, telling me to keep calm through the radio and then I felt the pain. My hands were burning as I pushed down on the top of the tank to climb out of the hatch. The metal was searing hot and I couldn’t get free, as I was still wearing the headset and the wire pulled me down into the tank again. I gritted my teeth and pushed again, hoping the wire would snap or melt. Thankfully it did and as I fell from the tank I blacked out. My friends put me out with an extinguisher and then I was taken to the field hospital.”
Karl, who suffered 37% burns to his hands, legs, arms and face and had to learn to walk again, lost count of the number of operations and skin grafts he had.
“It was a long process of recovery and I still come to the outpatients department now, but despite all the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve come through. It’s now time to give something back,” said Karl.
QEHB Charity will be following Karl throughout 2012 in his journeys around the globe. To sponsor Karl please visit www.justgiving.com/karl-hinett.