He is also preparing another fund-raising challenge for Help for Heroes: flying a microlight across Antarctica to the South Pole, a feat which has never been attempted before by anyone, able-bodied or otherwise.
Jaco's address at the Bright Purple Academy was attended by a group of young people who are involved with a range of organisations including the British Army, Inspiring Scotland, Limelight Careers, Youthbuild, Napier University and Aberdeen University.
20 year old Robert, who is currently being mentored by the organisation Youth Build, was one of those who attended the event. "I was especially taken with the quote that Jaco shared with us: 'life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent of how you respond to it.' I was really impressed and uplifted by all he has achieved so far," he said.
Alistair, a youth who is currently involved in an employment training programme with Inspiring Scotland was equally impressed. "It was a really great talk, hearing of his north pole expedition. It shows you that there really are no boundaries."
Sarah, a fourth year law student at Aberdeen University who made the trek to Edinburgh to hear Jaco's story, said: "I was really encouraged in how he has confronted barriers in life and has succeeded when people told him that what he wanted to do couldn’t be done." His talk makes you question life changing events and how you deal with them. It also highlights to me the importance of challenging yourself, both inside and outside of your career."
Brody, an 18 year old who is now on a Limelight Careers-supported apprenticeship with the Registrars of Scotland, said: "Jaco's story is just unbelievable. Young people are often told what we can't do but he has shown what can be achieved."
Jaco was welcomed by Bright Purple CEO, Nick Price. He said: "Jaco van Gass is an extremely uplifting individual who, on the back of an absolutely devastating personal incident, has literally picked himself up and gone on to some amazing achievements. It's been a delight having him here in Edinburgh to share his fascinating life story, so far. He has shown us that whatever circumstances we are facing it is possible to find strength and depth to do great things."
The events were organised by Edinburgh-based consultancy Future Sales Factory. The company's managing director, Matthew Quinn, said: "Given his own personal qualities as well as the fascinating and uplifting story he has to share, Jaco is becoming an increasingly sought after speaker throughout the UK. As he has demonstrated with the events at Bright Purple, his appeal stretches to audiences of all ages and background. He is quite simply a remarkable man who delivers a captivating and inspiring message."