11th September 2017, UK: One man is on a personal mission to challenge the perceptions around disabilities. This is a man who served 24 years in The Royal Marines without suffering any life changing injuries, who simply pulled over to help a motorist on the M3 while off duty when his life changed forever.
Lee Spencer will become the world’s first physically disabled person to row solo and unsupported from continental Europe to continental America for a new Guinness World Record, leaving from Gibralter on January 18th 2018.
Lee will also attempt to beat the current able bodied record of 96 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes, gaining a second Guinness World Record. Stroke by stroke, 3,500 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, Lee will be challenging the very definition of disability and its negative connotations starting in Gibralter on January 18th 2018 and concluding in Venezuela.
Lee was born in Dagenham but made in the Royal Marine’s. Despite surviving 24 years as a Marine and three operational tours of Afghanistan unscathed, Lee lost his right leg when he stopped to help a motorist on the M3 in Surrey in 2014. Lee was hit by flying debris as he made his way to the stricken vehicle and his right leg was severed in the impact.
Just a year after his life changed Lee set-off to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in 2015 in a team of four injured veterans, Row2Recovery. The team became the first British military all-amputee team of four to row an ocean. This was the beginning of Lee rediscovering who he was, refusing to be defined by disability. Lee commented:
“I don’t believe anyone should be defined by something they can’t do or their limitations. It’s about rediscovering who you are, not redefining who you are and being labelled. I feel passionately about raising awareness of this and challenging these preconceptions. Disabilities vary and they aren’t just physical either, I hope I am able to inspire all those who seek to rediscover themselves and raise awareness and funds for two very worthy charities who have supported and inspired me ”.
During this feat of extraordinary physical and mental endurance, Lee will battle 30 foot waves and 3,500 miles of unpredictable Ocean in nothing more than a 7 metre long ocean rowing boat. Suffering from sleep deprivation, extreme fatigue, sea-sickness, fear and solitude Lee will be out of helicopter range and totally unsupported on the water.
Lee feels passionately about helping keep wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women at the forefront of people’s minds alongside challenging the embedded preconceptions that impact all those with disabilities. The double Guinness World Record attempt will raise awareness and money for the Royal Marines Charity and the Endeavour Fund, which supports wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and Veterans using sport and adventurous challenges as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.