Rory Mackenzie
Combat Medical Technician, HM Forces, United Kingdom / South Africa

Born in South Africa, Rory Mackenzie served in the British Army as a Combat Medical Technician for 10 years. In 2007 Rory was a victim to a road-side bomb; the device killed a fellow soldier and forced the amputation of Rory’s right leg.

With weeks of operations and a loss of hope, Rory, with the support from his family, started to show signs of recovery. After a further 7 months at Headley Court, including many hours in the prosthetics department, Rory made a complete physical recovery.

At first Rory felt defeated by what had happened, but when invited to try adaptive skiing in Germany, through a program called Battle Back, Rory began to understand that all was not lost. The freedom and exhilaration of skiing allowed him to forget his disability, and gave him the confidence to approach life with a genuinely positive outlook.

In 2012, Rory and a team of former servicemen (two able-bodied and four injured) successfully crossed the Atlantic in a rowing boat. This took them on a 3000 mile journey from La Gomera in the Canaries to Barbados, the team also reached their the goal of raising £1million for wounded soldiers as part of the Row2Recovery campaign.

Rory took part in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics, where he gave a truly inspirational speech at the Olympic Stadium in front of a worldwide audience of millions and a live audience of 80 000 people. Praise for his presentation was plentiful when he „delivered that rousing, scene-setting prologue to the Festival of the Flame“ London Evening Standard.
In September 2014 Rory took part in the very first Para-trike flight across the length of Kenya.



This presentation will tell the story of how Rory Mackenzie overcame adversity to go on and achieve the extraordinary. He will speak about his trials and tribulations of recovery, after having his entire right leg blown off by a road side bomb in Iraq, from learning to walk again at the age of 25 to successfully rowing across the Atlantic Ocean with a team of wounded servicemen.

“Can’t” is simply one letter too long.”


Rory Mackenzie

The Heart of the Team: From the Battle Field to Barbados

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