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A former Special Forces soldier, immediately paralyzed after being shot in the neck while serving in Afghanistan, has shared his inspiring story of starting over in a new book called Never Will I Die.
Toby Gutteridge, 35, was part of the Special Boat Service (SBS) when, at the age of 24, he was caught up in a gunfight and was seriously injured, with doctors at one point even considering taking him off the ventilator.
He is now paralyzed from the neck down and relies on a portable ventilator, breathing through a hole in his neck – but that doesn’t stop him from ‘finding a new purpose’.
As well as writing his inspiring story along with Michael Calvin, Toby has since also graduated with a degree – after completing his GCSEs – and started his own extreme sports business.
Toby Gutteridge (pictured), 35, was part of the Special Boat Service (SBS) when he got caught up in a gunfight at age 24
Toby (pictured before the injury) said in an interview, “I don’t remember the exact incident,” he said. ‘I still remember the day I prepared, did our checks
Toby described the horrific feeling of being shot in the neck today on ITV’s This Morning, telling Rochelle Humes and Vernon Kay that everything was ‘just pitch dark’.
“I don’t remember the exact incident,” he said. ‘I still remember the day I prepared, did our checks.
“I can’t tell you much about the operation, but it was a long night … We were the first team to go through the doors … they were all ready for us.”
Toby described the horrific feeling of being shot in the neck on ITV’s This Morning and told Rochelle Humes and Vernon Kay that everything was ‘just pitch black’.
Toby revealed that he was trying to “just stay alive” as the fighting continued around him.
He said, “In the Special Forces world, we are all medically trained. So the team behind me dragged me out and started working on me right away.
‘But yes, it’s pitch dark… I’m bleeding to death. It’s chaos because the guys in front of me are still in a firefight.’
Toby admitted that his injury was so horrific that others around him assumed he had died on the spot.
“The way I fell, they’d seen enough death to know mine was instant. If there’s no yelling and yelling, you usually know it’s serious.’
The shot was so severe that doctors considered cutting out Toby’s life support.
Stunned in an artificial coma, the ex-soldier said he was trying to get the message across so as not to turn it off.
Toby went on to earn a First Class Honors Degree in Business Studies from Bournemouth University, and now runs his own company called Bravery
Toby (pictured before his injury) admitted his injury was so horrific, others around him assumed he had died there and then
“Obviously I was on so many of these chemical drugs that I didn’t know what was going on,” he explained.
Starting over was “incredibly difficult,” he admitted.
Toby told Rochelle and Vernon, “I needed to find a new purpose and a new drive in my life…
In addition to putting his inspiring story on paper, co-authored with Michael Calvin, Toby has since also graduated
‘It was difficult. It was incredibly difficult. I’ve lost my identity, you know?
“I had to figure out what I can do now to use my brain and what I had left, so I wanted to go back to school and become a new person.
‘I went to college, but I had to start my GCSEs right away because I hadn’t been to school for so long…’
Toby went on to earn a First Class Honors Degree in Business Studies from Bournemouth University and now runs his own company called Bravery.
The extreme sportswear brand is focused on helping everyone live their lives to the fullest.
A message from Toby on the company’s site reads: “I created the brand not only for the youth intervention programs, but also for people to stop and take a look at their own lives and choices and see what obstacles or challenges they avoid that lead them to live their full potential.
“I want it to be a reminder that by taking risks, stepping out of their comfort zone and believing in themselves, making a difference can change their lives in amazing and exciting ways…”