"IT does not matter who you are and where you come from if you have dreams, believe and work towards it."
These were the words of Derek Derenalagi, an inspiring hero and a serving British Army soldier during The Royal British Legion (Fiji branch) fundraising drive at the Defence Club on Friday night.
Mr Derenalagi and his wife Ana were the guest speakers at the occasion which moved the members when they shared their journey and experiences since the tragic incident in 2007.
He told the members that life does not end once they were disabled.
Mr Derenalagi, who survived after his legs were blown away while on a tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, said his journey was not an easy one.
He said a positive attitude, mind-set and having trust in God helped him overcome all obstacles.
He inspired many people when he represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Paralympics despite his disability.
"Whether you are born with disability or involved in an accident, you need to believe that whatever your dreams are, they still can be achieved," he said.
Mrs Derenalagi said on returning to Camp Bastion, her husband was pronounced dead but while preparing to bag his body medical staff found he still had a pulse.
As a result of his injuries, both of Mr Derenalagi's legs were amputated above the knee.
"In a coma, he was flown back to the UK where nine days later he woke up in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham," she said.
Mrs Derenalagi said when her husband finally woke up, they both felt God's presence because if it was not for their faith he would not have survived.
Earlier in the day new student leaders of Adi Cakobau School (ACS) in Sawani received a dose of inspiration from Mr Derenalagi. He spoke to the young women about the need to remain positive and work diligently.
"You must always remember to work hard at anything you do. Don't let your circumstances dictate what you can do," Mr Derenalagi said.
He said girls could become whatever they wished, as long as they worked hard towards creating their own future.
A grateful school principal Salote Nawalowalo thanked Mr Derenalagi for providing the girls solid footing at the start of a new year.
"Being an amputee and for him to have reached this level he is at, it must involve perseverance and determination on his part," she said. "They needed this kind of talk so that they don't limit themselves to their circumstances.
"Having him come and talk to them at such short notice was truly a blessing. This is the time when girls and young people need this inspiration, because they're going through a lot now."