Ex-rugby player Ed Jackson leads disabled adventurers across Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Western Europe

Ex-rugby player Ed Jackson leads disabled adventurers across Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Western Europe

Ed Jackson, former professional rugby player turned mountaineer, mental health advocate and a recovering quadriplegic, is currently in Iceland preparing to ski across the Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Western Europe!  

During Ed’s five years at Millfield, he showed a great passion for rugby and captained the 1st XV between 2006-07. Upon leaving Millfield, Ed signed a full-time contract with Bath after coming through their Academy, making his senior debut in 2008. In 2009, he captained Bath at the Middlesex Sevens.  

On 8 April 2017, 10 years into his professional rugby career, Ed suffered a life-changing injury which left him paralysed and fighting for his life, but, despite this, through hard work, a great deal of support and sheer determination, bit by bit his body returned to him. Fast-forward four years and Ed had climbed Snowdon, trekked through the Himalayas and the Alps, as well as ascended the height of Mount Everest via his parents’ stairs during the first lockdown.  

Ed, along with Darren Edwards and Niall McCann who have also suffered life changing spinal cord injuries, are currently about to embark on a ground-breaking expedition as they attempt to become the first-ever unsupported fully disabled team to cross Europe's biggest ice cap! Ed’s injury has connected him with Darren and Niall and together they are united by their ability to overcome adversity.  

The trio will spend two weeks on the ice hauling all their own gear, with no able-bodied person there to assist them. They will encounter storms, crevasses and temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees. Add in the challenges of operating in this environment when you have little or no sensation below the waist and all having to fit in one tent, it becomes even more of a gruelling challenge.  

Ed, Niall and Darren have set out to raise vital funds for the Millimetres 2 Mountains, a UK charity set up by Ed Jackson which helps people to overcome adversity through adventure. For their journey across the ice, they are looking to raise £155,000, £1,000 for every kilometre that they traverse over the ice cap. 

“There is also a wider purpose of this mission - to show that sometimes a terrible diagnosis is not necessarily a terrible prognosis, that you can still go on to achieve amazing things with your life within the realms of a body that isn’t quite as able as before whilst hopefully changing a few perceptions about disability in the process.” - Ed. 

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