Mike Day doesn't need a battlefield to be a hero.
After surviving 27 gun shots from a single incident in Iraq, the retired Navy SEAL Sr. Chief brought a passion for helping fellow comrades back to the U.S., WTKR-TV reported.
Day is participating in a half-Ironman triathlon on April 12, and raising money for wounded warriors and children who are living with severe brain injuries ahead of the event.
As of Tuesday morning, he'd garnered more than $83,000 on Crowdrise for the Brain Treatment Foundation -- a nonprofit division of the Carrick Brain Treatment Center in Dallas, where he was treated after the life-threatening incident.
"My life's mission now [is] not about me," Day wrote on the fundraising page. "Rather, it is to care for and lead my wounded brothers and sisters. My fellow warriors deserve the best available treatment for their injuries."Support Day's fundraising efforts using the Crowdrise widget below.
In April 2007, Day was shot 16 times in his body and 11 times in his armor by members of al Qaeda near Fallujah, Iraq, according to News Channel 3. He was knocked unconscious after a grenade thrown in his direction exploded, but incredibly, he came to and made his way to a medical helicopter. He was eventually transported back to the U.S. to be treated for his wounds.
Day sustained injuries in both legs, both arms and his lungs, ribs and abdomen, among many other areas of his body, he wrote on his fundraising page. He lived with a colostomy bag for the year following the incident.
"It felt like somebody was just beating me up with sledgehammers," Day told faith-based nonprofit CBN News of the violent incident. As it was unfolding, he prayed he'd make it home to see his wife and daughters, Day said.
In the approximate two weeks following his injuries, Day said he lost 55 pounds. It took about two years for him to fully recover from his physical injuries, although he still lives with chronic pain.
According to CBN News, Day was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- a condition that likely affects about 10 percent to 18 percent of post-9/11 vets who served in combat, one 2009 study suggested.
But Day hasn't let his post-battle challenges slow him down. The half-Ironman in Florida will demand Day complete more than 70 miles of biking, swimming and running.
It's the veteran's courage in Iraq, however, that has many donors lending their support.
"Thank you for your service to our great nation," donors Michael and Lisa Schweitzer wrote on Day's Crowdrise page. "Hero doesn't begin to describe the selflessness and bravery of men and women like you who put country and freedom above all else."