In the final week before the departure for Kathmandu, Martin and Terry were delighted to be able to confirm the addition of Sam Baynes to the AGS team.

Additional sponsorship secured by the AGS has enabled Sam, who has been undertaking training with the AGS team in the hope of being able to join them for the Base Camp trek, to fly to Kathmandu with Martin and Terry, and she will be hiking to Everest Base Camp (EBC). Whilst a very different challenge to the one which Martin and Terry (the summit team) have ahead of them, the hike to EBC for Sam is a massive challenge and provides her own ‘ Everest’.

Sam moved to Austria to work as a physiotherapist, specialising in snow sports injuries, but on New Year’s Eve 2015 had a sledging accident, leaving her 50m off a mountain side and sustaining severe and life changing injuries. Sam endured a traumatic brain injury (TBI), broken skull and neck, and lower back and brachial plexus nerve damage which resulted in a 7% chance of recovering from the coma she was in.

Since then, Sam’s determination has lead to undergoing life changing therapy and continuous rehab and training. Her passion is now taking on mountains - something which she barely survived.

After summiting her first mountain - Gran Paradiso (4061m) in Italy 22 months after injury - she has now completed the national three peaks in the UK (Ben Nevis 1345m Scotland, Scafell Pike 978m England, Snowdon 1085m Wales in 23 hours) and Killimanjaro (5895m) Africa.

Sam feels strongly about encouraging others who have experienced significant trauma, highlighting that there is always an adaption that can be made to overcome the challenge, as well as the social stigma that has been unfairly given to disability.

The Adaptive GrandSlam project started with providing opportunities for injured veterans to use sport and adventurous challenges as a focus as part of rehabilitation. In 2016 we started providing opportunities for civilians with life changing injuries to get involved with our team, also being supported by the AGS foundation. Sam was our first team member, and when she first joined us her injury was first very new. At the time, she hadn’t taken in just how life changing her injuries were, or how she could aim to take on a serious challenge. Her mindset was strong and she was keen to engage. She joined our training programme and trained diligently, and successfully summited Grand Paradiso, Italy’s highest mountain, with the team. Since then, she has gone on to summit Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and we are really proud that she is now joining us on our Base Camp trip. This proves that everyone has their own ‘Everest’ - no matter what that challenge is.
— Martin Hewitt, AGS Founder
We make our own luck. If takes effort, guts, courage, the want for something better and stepping out of your comfort zone. The AGS has had a massive part to play in that for me. My recovery would have been very different if I had never had them in my life. I can’t thank them enough for including me in their programme.
— Sam Baynes