Sergeant Simon Harmer RAMC

Having served as Combat Medical Technician for the British Army in Bosnia, Iraq and the Congo, Sergeant Simon Harmer lost both of his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2009.

The manner in which he has approached these life changing injuries is truly exemplary. Whether you are interested in the British Army, the medical services or wish to hear a humbling yet inspiring story then Simon must not be missed.

Simon recently represented the British Armed Forces swimming team at the Invictus Games.

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Simon has experienced a full and varied career spanning sixteen years as a Combat Medical Technician in the British Army. In October 2009 his career took a different direction. Whilst serving on the front line in Afghanistan with 1 Battalion The Coldstream Guards, he sustained life changing injuries. He is now a double amputee who has decided not to be defined by his injuries.

His active service included two tours of Bosnia, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan. Sgt Harmer has enjoyed several different postings which included working with a Territorial Army Field Hospital in Cardiff and as a Permanent Staff Instructor to training recruits, both as a Section Commander and a Troop Sergeant, at Army Training Regiment Winchester. The Army has taken him all over the world from the open plains of Alberta, Canada to the polar circle in Kiruna, Sweden.

After being injured Simon spent five weeks in Selly Oak having many operations on his right arm and what remained of his legs. He ended up with a left above knee amputation, a right below knee amputation and intervention to save the use of his right arm. After discharge from Selly Oak he started rehabilitation at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court near Epsom, Surrey. Incredibly he was walking on prosthetic legs less than two months after being injured.

Since being injured he has taken part in a number of challenges; adaptive skiing five months after being injured, riding across northern France on a hand bike to raise money for charity and more recently completing the Race Across America as part of an eight man team. Simon is to be medically discharged from the Army and is looking forward to a bright future in civilian life.

The bravery to apply his profession in the harshest of environments is testament to his selfless dedication to both the armed forces and medicine. Simon has not allowed his injuries to diminish his unwavering strength of character as he embarks on a life that, although he did not choose, he will embrace. This ability to overcome life-changing adversity is something that, albeit on a far lesser scale, resonates with all who hear him speak. Simon truly is an incredibly inspiring speaker.

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