Marine Who Lost Leg in Afghanistan Set to Walk 205 Miles in 11 Days

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

For Nick Perales, that saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” couldn’t be truer. He’s a Marine who lost his leg in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in 2011. Now, he’s getting ready to walk 205 miles across in 11 days with a 50-lb rucksack on his back.

Nick Perales Went From Amputee to Ultra Ultramarathon Walker

Perales, who was a scout sniper for the Marines, is doing the walk to raise awareness for wounded veterans. His walk is called The Weight of It: A Walk for Remembrance. He plans to do about 20-25 miles per day, ending at the Center for the Intrepid at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. It was at the Center for the Intrepid where Perales worked tirelessly with professionals for over two and a half years. They were working to save his left leg, which was also blown up in the bomb explosion.

25 lbs of the 50-lb sack that Perales carries will come from a weighted vest. He’ll also be carrying an extra prosthetic for his right leg and a brace for his left leg.

“I think about the burden and the load our nation’s heroes, and their loved ones carry around every day,” Perales said, per People. “And [the weight of the rucksack is] a reminder for me to make sure they are always at the top of my mind.”

Other wounded veterans and Nick Perales’ sister, Larissa, will join him for sections of his walk. His friend, Sebastian Gallegos, hopes to do the entire walk with him. Gallegos wears a prosthetic right arm after losing his in Afghanistan while serving as a Marine in 2010. Gallegos said that Perales is a “different level of elite” due to his extraordinary physical fitness, but at the same time, this walk will be the “hardest thing” that he’s ever known his friend to do.

Perales’ Impressive Accomplishments After Losing His Leg in Afghanistan

Nick Perales has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, hiked a marathon distance across the desert of New Mexico, and completed over a dozen Spartan obstacle races. This past April, he spent 24 hours straight repeating the entire CrossFit Hero Workout, every hour on the hour. He did the challenge to raise money for Sheep Dog Impact Assistance on behalf of veterans and first responders.

But despite all these accomplishments, Perales didn’t feel like he was making enough of an impact or challenging himself enough. So, he’s doing the 205-mile walk and documenting it as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Perales has an amazing body rebound story, too. It might seem like he’s indestructible, but this is the result of a lot of dedication. After his accident, he self-medicated with alcohol, pills, and junk food. He gained 80 lbs — a substantial amount considering he is only five and a half feet tall. The veteran was still undergoing surgeries and rehabilitation for his legs and suffering from the trauma of his accident. He said that he felt “drowned in a sense of disappointment” when he looked at himself in the mirror and had “let everyone down.” He decided one day that he would throw all the junk food and pills away. It was from a sense that he’d had so much help from others and was “messing up this second chance.”

The Transformation Project

That decision to turn his life around planted the seed for The Transformation Project. The Transformation Project is a 1 on 1 coaching service that can help others reset and become healthier versions of themselves.

Perales has some good advice for anyone wanting to get into shape. He calls it “inversion thinking,” a process that begins with listing all the ways your fitness plan will fail. And then, you do the exact opposite. Examples were getting enough sleep, hanging out with encouraging people, eating a sustainable diet, and having accountability.

Perales’ own transformation is enough to inspire anyone. But his dedication to helping others who are suffering, whether they are wounded veterans or people who want to get into shape, is remarkably selfless. And the truth is, there are many others out there who have lost limbs to IEDs. Hundreds of thousands of people have been injured or killed by IEDs in Afghanistan in the past 12 years alone. Not many of them have survived and thrived in the way that Perales has.

The Marine’s 205-Mile Walk Began Tuesday

The Weight of It: A Walk for Remembrance begins on November 1st. Perales, and hopefully Gallegos, plan to arrive at the Brooke Army Medical Center on Veterans Day

, November 11th. You can follow Perales’ journey on his Instagram page, @nick.transformationproject. If you’re feeling like you need a dose of inspiration, or just want to support the cause, follow Perales as well as Wounded Warrior Project @WWP.

Perales started the journey this morning with a can of C4 Energy (his sponsor). In the video above, you can see him heading out the door. It’s early morning and the sun hasn’t risen yet. He’s walking with his prosthetic and puts on his rucksack, which clearly weighs a lot. This is just the beginning, so follow him for more updates.

“Weathered, hungry, beaten down, lonely…it doesn’t matter.
Keep going.
Being weathered adds character, it shows you can withstand the storm.
Being hungry keeps you driven and unsatisfied.
Being beaten down shows you can take a hit and get back up, every time. No matter what.
Being alone shows mental fortitude and strength. You’ll find cowards in numbers.
Nothing on this earth can stop a person that is willing to give everything.
Look at your hands. Look at your calluses, the cuts, the scars.
Whatever you’ve gone though, you’ve gotten through…
So whatever you’re going through, you can get through.
It’s your road, and yours alone
Others may walk it with you, but never for you.
Attack your path with absolute dedication
T- Minus 3 days…
All It Takes Is All You Got.”

Nick Perales, via Instagram

Read More: The Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, And How to Properly Celebrate

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