A recovering alcoholic who lost his legs to drink is rowing 1,000 miles to raise money for charity.
And it’s the latest grueling challenge for Tony ‘Bash’ Wright after ‘dying’ seven times. He’ll be rowing from Edinburgh Union Canal to Inverness in a boat he’s built to raise money for two armed forces charities: SSAFA and Talking 2 Minds.
Bash, 63, from Whitby, was once a competitive cyclist, runner, rugby player and bodybuilder. He’d liked a tipple since his late teens but a car accident in 2001 sent him on a spiral into alcoholism.
The accident left Bash with brain damage and he would drink until he passed out. He’d chain smoke 50g of tobacco a day.
Then in 2018 his pancreas, an organ essential to digestion, failed. His pancreas wrecked by alcohol and smoking, his body went into multiorgan failure.
Bash, 59 at the time, was placed in a coma for three months. He developed pneumonia, a C-diff infection, leaking veins, and necrosis in his legs. His heart stopped and, says Bash, he was clinically dead seven times.
For him to have any chance of survival his legs were amputated although the father-of-five’s prognosis was still short and bleak. But Bash defied medical odds and began to recover, earning the name Lazarus (a biblical character who Jesus reincarnates) among hospital staff.
Bash was sent to a care home to coalesce. He had a short relapse which resulted in him coughing up blood.
But he’s been sober for two-and-a-half years and in that time, has dedicated his life to raising money through tough physical challenges. Last year, he pushed his wheelchair on a circuitous route from Land’s End to John o’ Groats and on through Orkney and to the northernmost wheelchair accessible tip of Shetland – and the British Isles.
Three months ago, Bash, aka Green Mile Man, pushed himself up Roseberry Topping, a steep-sided hill on the northern edge of the North York Moors. He’s already embarked on his boat challenge which you can follow on his YouTube channel.
Bash’s son Leon, 23, said: “I feel very proud of him, how far he has come and that he is doing things that no other person has done before.
“His latest challenge had us all worried to be honest; the sound of him doing 1,000 miles solo in a boat he’s crafted together himself, especially when I was in the sea and the weather was bad.
“He’s had some close calls but he’s not let anything stop him and doesn’t let danger stop him. I don’t think anything could actually stop him. When he has his mind set on something there’s nothing that can stop him from achieving that.”
You can sponsor Bash here.