A former Lance Corporal has spent 2016 rebuilding his life after medical discharge and the death of his mother, who would have celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day.
Jonny Parkinson, 35, of Dundee, Scotland, was shot while serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps, having previously served tours in Cyprus and Kosovo.
“I received a commendation for my last tour but it was bitter sweet because the tour also caused me to lose my career. I sustained a gunshot wound to the lower right leg. It's amazing how one moment in time something so small can have such a massive impact on all aspects of my life. I started going downhill mentally and physically after my injury.”
As Jonny was struggling to come to terms with his new life post-injury, he was dealt another devastating blow when his mum died following a short battle with lung cancer.
“I had to put my life on hold to act as a carer for my mum. At the same time, my partner was pregnant and I lost my job offshore because I couldn’t commit to time away whilst caring for my mum. I had some really dark days after mum passed away.”
Eventually, Jonny made contact with the Help for Heroes Career Recovery team in Catterick and this year, through their guidance, he qualified as an ILM Level 3 workplace coach and is now employed. He and his partner also celebrated the birth of their son earlier this year.
“It was my mum’s birthday on Christmas Day and I’m going to honour it by making sure she’ll never be forgotten. Most importantly, it’s my son’s first Christmas and it’s time to create happy memories. Things change, time goes by and life is here to make the most if it.
“I would like to say thank you to the British public for the generosity that has been shown towards those of us who got injured. It’s very humbling to know that in hard economic times, people can still spare a moment to put their hands in their pockets and contribute. They make our lives so much better by helping to provide a massive support network and through letting us know they have our backs”.