标记档案: 阿富汗

Marine Who Lost Leg to Bomb in Afghanistan Will Walk 205 Miles in 11 Days — With 50-Lb. Bag on His Back

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Nick Perales.
照片: Zachary Craig for C4 Energy

Growing up in the small Texas town of Bandera, Nick Perales never did anything halfwayin the classroom, and the sports he loved, including baseball and soccer. “He literally excelled at everything,” says his younger sister Larissa.

And he was always up for a new challenge.

I remember our mom being like, ‘What’s Nick gonna be doing now?,” Larissa, 32, 召回. “Something, 你知道, crazy and doing something above and beyond.

Perales, 现在 33, continued to push his limits: completing over a dozen grueling Spartan obstacle races, a marathon distance hike through the New Mexico desert, 24-hours straight of Cross-Fit’s toughest workouts, and co-founding with his sister a thriving nutrition and coaching company, The Transformation Project.

But these accomplishments of the last 12 years is a story of overcoming pain, and remarkable determination and grit, after the retired Marine Corps vet lost half his right leg and suffered other severe injuries when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded on Feb. 2, 2011 in Afghanistan, where Perales was a scout sniper.

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Nick Perales in the hospital in Afghanistan, with one of his teammates who saved his life.
Nick Perales

I took one step. And the next thing I knew, I was being thrown through the air, against the ground, 真的很难,” says Perales.

I instantly realized, I just stepped on a bomb. I just saw this bright red flash, just kind of blow up beneath me,” 他继续. “And knowing that I was laying there, my legs basically blown off, one mangled, my hips fractured.

I just was ready to give up. I just wanted to close my eyes and go to sleep,” 他说. “I told my guys, 我像, “伙计们, tell my family I love them. I’m fine with this. I’m good.

But his fellow Marines, and then teams of doctors and nurses, kept him alive. “I didn’t know I was going to have a second chance at life,” 他说. “And I’m forever grateful for them.

In a tribute to his those who saved him, friends he’s lost at war, and his desire toembark on just a monumental journeyto raise awareness for wounded veterans, at first light Tuesday morning Perales begins a 205-mile, 11-day walk with a 50-pound rucksack on his back.

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Sebastian Gallegos, 剩下, and Nick Perales.
Sebastian Gallegos

He plans on walking about 20 到 25 miles a day from his Houston home to arrive at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antoniowhere he spent over two-and-a-half years undergoing multiple operations on his left leg to save the limb, extensive rehabilitation and, unable to walk, was in a wheelchair much of that time.

Peralesgoal is to finish by noon on Nov. 11, 退伍军人节, and he’ll be documenting the feat on Instagram @nick.transformationproject.

It didn’t feel like I was challenging myself enough, and I didn’t feel like I was making as big as an impact that I wanted to, that my heart wanted to,” Perales says of the idea for this journey, called ‘The Weight of It: A Walk for Remembrance.

Sponsored by C4 Energy, a drink brand, the journey is part of the company’s partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. (You can donate to Wounded Warrior through this link.)

I feel like I’m in debt, to not only our veterans, our first responders, but society in general, 你知道?” 他说. “And I really just want to do whatever it is that I can, to give back to others.

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Nick Perales and his dog, Benny.
Nick Perales

The walk is a team effort. Larissa Perales, and many Marine Corps colleagues will be joining Nick along the way, including close pal Sebastian Gallegos, 33, of San Antonio, who hopes to do the entire walk together.

This is the hardest thing that I’ve ever known that he’s done,” says Gallegos, who lost his right arm during combat in Afghanistan in 2010 as a Marine Corps rifle team leader. The pair met in the hospital as they recovered together.

But he’s a different level of elite,” says Gallegos, “so physically fit.

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Nick Perales in Afghanistan.
Nick Perales

It’s a tremendous turnaround for Perales from the months after the explosion. Haunted by memories of the day, unable to walk, and with numerous operations on his remaining leg, Perales numbed his emotions through pain killers, sleep meds, junk food and alcohol.

During this time he was bound to a wheelchair for almost a year, unable to use either leg.

I didn’t feel confident,” 他说. “I didn’t want to be around other people.

By November, 2012, almost two years after his injuries, Perales had gained about 80 pounds on his 5-foot-6 frame and wanted to attend the Marine Corps Birthday ball on Nov. 10. He tried getting into his dress blues, adorned with shiny medals, but could not get the upper buttons of the neck collar to close.

I remember looking at myself in this bathroom mirror, and I was just instantly drowned in a sense of disappointment,” Perales recalls.

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Nick Perales.
Nick Perales

I literally just felt like I just let everyone down,” 他说, “my teammates that risked their lives to save mine, the medevac team that risked their life to come save mine, the doctors, 外科医生, the PT’s, the OT’s, my family.

I felt I was just messing up this second chance,” 他继续. “And it’s that very moment, where I took every pill I had, I threw it in the trash. I took all the food out of my cabinets, my pantry, my freezer, and I threw it away. I needed to start over.

Perales soon lost all the weight, adopted a healthy diet and quickly took on athletic challengeseven if he wasn’t in shape, like the first Spartan race he did with Gallegos almost a decade ago.

He signed us up for this like, 你知道, 14 mile death race,” says Gallegos, “And it ended up taking 14 小时. We finished in the middle of the night. He never gave up.

Nick Perales

Nick Perales

Nick Perales and sister Larissa Perales.
Nick Perales

Perales also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with other combat veterans, and for the last two years took on the herculean challenge of doing 24 hours of the notoriously tough CrossFit Hero Workout, to raise money for Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, which helps first responders and veterans.

After leaving the house he shares with his dog, Benny, Perales spends his mornings in the gym doing body-building, with afternoons at Igneous, a local CrossFit.

For the 205-mile trek to San Antonio, he’ll be wearing a brace on his left leg he needs for support, and in his rucksack, an extra prosthetic, a spare brace and a 25-pound weighted vest.

Why carry the loaded rucksack? “I think about the burden and the load our nation’s heroes and their loved one carry around every day,” 他说, “and it’s a reminder for me to make sure they are always at the top of my mind.

While Perales has not trained for the walk outside of his daily fitness routine, he’s not worried about finishing.

I kind of use my day-to-day as it already is, to be physically prepared,” 他说, “and I think a lot of this is going to be mental training, being able to tap into that next level.

For those who know Perales best, there is no doubt he’ll finish.

If you could have seen our family’s faces when he told us about this, there was no surprise in our eyes,” says Larissa. “And he does it with the most goodness in his heart.