When you read somebody’s personal journey, their highs, lows, triumphs and tragedies experienced, are vividly described and brought to life in your mind. Some make you laugh, cry, emotional and even inspired, as their journey is so engrossing that you cannot stop reading, which is like being on a rollercoaster.
I experienced this recently when reading a fabulous book called, You’ll Never Walk by Andy Grant. You’ll Never Walk tells his personal story from growing up in Bootle, joining the Royal Marines and overcoming adversity, to become a motivational speaker and runner.
As a Royal Marines commando, Andy served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, Andy’s military career was cut short, when he was blown up by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) whilst on patrol, suffering serious injuries. These included nerve damage, two broken legs, a broken elbow and sternum, along with a severed femoral artery. I must admit reading Andy’s account and the subsequent aftermath was difficult, as I could not have imagined what must have been going through his mind, during those fateful and horrific moments.
Along with enduring the mental trauma and months of recovery, Andy was also told the devasting news, that he would not be able to have children. Yet from such harrowing adversity, Andy showed great character, courage, heart, and determination befitting a true Scouser and Royal Marine, by rebuilding his life and making a brave decision to amputate his leg. Since then, Andy has not only become a successful motivational speaker, but he also went on to be the fastest single-leg amputee in the world over 10k, along with winning double gold at the 2014 Invictus Games.
Reading the book, I was totally engrossed with Andy’s story throughout. Not only was it nicely written, but it was funny and extremely dark, with a raw honesty, plenty of Scouse humour and vivid imagery. There were moments in the book where I did laugh in places, and others which had a solemn tone that brought a tear, especially with Andy’s love for his family, and of how his late mother passed away from leukaemia, when he was twelve. Indeed, the theme of family is a constant thread, that links and illuminates his story beautifully.
Overall, I loved every minute reading the book, which took me two days as I could not put it down. Andy’s story is certainly an uplifting one, that is an honest portrait of a remarkable individual, who has endured and experienced plenty. Just reading the book’s closing words encapsulates the image of a proud family man, and an inspirational hero, for everyone to look up to.
I had the pleasure of meeting Andy at an event in Liverpool last year, where I was able to briefly chat with him. I found him to be very humble, kind, funny, and approachable, in other words a true Scouser. By reading Andy’s story, I was able to relate it to my own background with overcoming challenges, which for me being autistic, is overcoming my disability, graduating from university and working in IT. In addition, I discovered we also share similar passions, for running and supporting Liverpool Football Club.
There will be many others who will also relate to Andy’s story, as he is an example of how you can change your life for the better. I seriously recommend You’ll Never Walk, as it is of the greatest books, that I have ever had the privilege of reading, and the story of Andy Grant is one that deserves to be discovered by millions. Therefore, if you want to be inspired and be shown that anything is possible. this book is for you.
Finally, I would like to thank Andy for sharing his story, and to Phil Reade for ghost-writing the book.
You will not be disappointed at all!