In May 2011, an Improvised Explosive Devise in Afghanistan injured Major Steven McCulley, 35, a Marine from Hampshire.
As the lads performed battlefield first aid on me to stem the bleeding I can remember thinking how proud I was of them and how professionally they were handling the situation. A Directional Fragmentation Charge IED had just hit me; these types of IEDs are located in the sides of walls and ditches in order to hit the upper body. Shrapnel hit me everywhere but my more serious injuries were the large holes in the right hand side of my chest where the shrapnel fractured six of my ribs and tore through my right lung. Everything started going dark - I thought I was going to die, never see my kids again. My men managed to keep me awake until the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) picked me up. I was flown back to the field hospital in camp Bastion and my last memory of Afghanistan was a surgeon looking over me and saying; ‘you’re going to be alright.
I spent the next three weeks in a medically induced coma in intensive care, in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. My wife Janey was amazing; how she coped looking after our two young children while worrying about me I’ll never know. Two months after I was wounded I went home for two weeks sick leave before going to DMRC Headley Court. Initially I made good progress however a year after being injured I started coughing up blood. Due to the severe risk from the shrapnel remaining in my lung in August 2012 I underwent major surgery to remove as much of it as possible. I lost 80% of my lung but they managed to remove fifteen pieces of shrapnel from my chest cavity. ‘A year on and I’m doing OK. I still get horrific chest pain and am having a lot of problems with my knee. I get lethargic because oxygen isn’t getting to my muscles quick enough. I can’t do any impact exercise but I can cycle. I have always loved bikes – I built my first when I was eight years old. During my military career I have taken part in competitive cycling representing both the Royal Navy & Royal Marines. I know that I will not be able to compete again; nonetheless, I remain passionate about cycling and want to continue in the industry. So, in between surgery and medical rehabilitation and with support from the Royal Marines and Help for Heroes I founded LIOS Bikes. I want to offer a personalised service for people that appreciate quality, but may not have the time or experience to purchase or build their own bike.
H4H paid for me to go a cycle technician courses to get accreditation, so I’m now qualified to the highest level possible in the UK. The charity has been amazing – thanks to their support I’m now following my dream to run my own business and feel that I have a real future outside of the marines. www.liosbikes.com