Aaron Phipps - Paralympian and Motivational Speaker
"Life throws curve balls; it’s up to us to choose how we deal with them."
Aaron Phipps is a Paralympian who has scaled Kilimanjaro on his hands and knees. His message of perseverance and determination, energy and endurance moves everyone who hears it, and his strategies for achieving your goals are transferable to business and life.
You’re 15 years old. You love extreme and competitive sports such as rollerblading, skateboarding, BMX-riding and basketball.
One day, you experience flu-like symptoms. They seem harmless, but 12 hours later, you’re on a life-support machine.
You’ve contracted meningitis C that has escalated to blood poisoning. Both your legs and most of your fingertips have to be amputated. You spend a year in hospital, including two weeks in a controlled coma.
Would you be able to turn that experience into something positive?
Aaron Phipps did.
Eight months after leaving hospital, he went to college to study for A levels and get his life back to ‘normal’.
In 2007, he took part in a 10km wheelchair race to raise funds for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) – the charity that supported him and his family when he became ill.
Having got the taste for wheelchair racing, Aaron did the Adidas half-marathon at Silverstone then competed in his first London Marathon in 2008. He did the London Marathon again in 2009 where finished in one minute under two hours, making him the 4th fastest UK male.
Also in 2008, Aaron discovered wheelchair rugby.
While working full-time as a tutor at Hampshire County Council, Aaron trained hard to be selected for the 2012 London Paralympic Games. In 2011, he spent 10 weeks at an intensive training camp in Florida, and was classified as a 3.5 player.
At the 2012 Games, Team GB’s wheelchair rugby team came 5th. Aaron was top goal-scorer, achieving more than half the team’s points.
After a five-year break from wheelchair rugby to be with his family, Aaron is currently back in training for the rescheduled Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021.
He lives in Totton (near Southampton) with his wife Vicky and daughters, Ella and Chloe.
Climbing one of the tallest mountains in the world.
Because.... Why not?
In 2016, Aaron decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the MRF and the Shaw Trust. All went well until he found his specially adapted off-road wheelchair wasn’t suitable for the scree near the top of the mountain.
Aaron refused to give up. He also refused to be carried, and reached the summit after crawling on his hands and knees for nine hours over four days.
It was the first time a British amputee has reached the top of Kilimanjaro without assistance.
The story made national headlines and has been the subject of a Channel 5 documentary.
Aaron works on MRF’s awareness campaigns and has helped raise over £250,000 for them. He inspired the charity to create Pushing the Boundaries, an annual sports event for children who have lost limbs to meningitis.
He co-founded (and occasionally plays for) Team Solent Sharks. This is the biggest wheelchair rugby club in the South of England, which gives many disabled young people the opportunity to play the sport.
He is also an athlete mentor for the Youth Sport Trust, Chancellor of the New Forest and Southampton Children’s University, Ambassador for Roma Sport Medical Aids Ltd, and has lent his support to Active in the Community CIC.