This year as part of our ANZAC Day tribute, we share the story of Damien Thomlinson – an Australian Defence Force Veteran and double amputee and PDA’s 2020 Face of ANZAC.
PDA gratefully acknowledges Damien for allowing us to share his story with you.
Damien Thomlinson may be a familiar face with a familiar story.
A proud Australian, husband, father, motivational speaker, brand Ambassador, accomplished sportsman, the first amputee contestant on popular TV show Survivor, best-selling author and Hollywood actor.
However, much of this page in his history book stems back to his time as a Commando in the Australian army.
Having served for a number of years on a number of deployments, it was whilst serving in Afghanistan that his life changed forever.
On a late-night patrol in April 2009, Damien’s unit drove over an improvised explosive device, planted by the Taliban. The force of the explosion resulted in catastrophic injuries that left him with facial injuries, both of his arms severely fractured and both legs being amputated. There were many times during the immediate treatment of his injuries, that his medical team were unsure as to whether or not he would survive. The fact that he wasn’t killed in the explosion or whilst hospitalised is still seen as something of a miracle.
The chapters which followed showed the true strength and determination of a man, who refused to give up, who refused to allow what had happened to lead him down a path of depression, despair or defeat.
Giving up was not an option for Damien. It is not in his nature.
Instead, he decided that the loss of his legs was simply another challenge for him to overcome.
Damien’s positive attitude and refusal to quit spurred him on, bringing many opportunities that have allowed him to inspire, motivate and resonate with many people.
He has since married, become a father, written a best-selling autobiography, become one of Australia’s most successful motivational speakers and been a cast member of the Academy Award winning movie Hacksaw Ridge.
Despite all these responsibilities, he is actively involved in many important causes that support other brave and selfless defence force members, now facing their own personal challenges.
Damien’s incredible journey upholds the belief that challenges can be overcome with determination and drive.
He is testimony that the ANZAC spirit is truly alive and well.
Lest we forget!