A former sergeant in the British Army Jonathan Mitchell lost more than half his body weight to chemotherapy as he battled the highly-aggressive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia for four and a half years.
The eight per cent chance of survival he was given wasn’t a problem, he says, because he believed he was 'bulletproof'. More worrying was the prospect of being discharged from the army, which he saw as his ‘second family’: “I grieved the loss of the Army, becoming depressed,” he recalled. “I missed feeling that sense of pride and being a part of the brotherhood.” The 33-year-old, who goes by the name of Mitch competed at the Invictus Games and won a powerlifting bronze in Sydney last year and has been working hard to better that this time around.
Today, Mitch admits that he is still coming to terms with the fact that his body will never fully recover from the years of chemotherapy and radiotherapy that has been administered; “At the very most I will be 50% of what I used to be with regarding to physical fitness as throughout my army career, this, along with my emotional and psychological resilience, was something that I prided myself upon.” Being part of the Invictus programme and representing Team UK have helped Mitch turn that corner: “The day I was medically discharged from HM Forces was the worst day of my life and broke me in every way humanly possible. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.” In his own words
“Being in the Invictus UK Team will mean that I will be a part of that brotherhood once again. Illness or no illness, to be a part of something that I believed was out of my life. Being surrounded by these phenomenal ex-servicemen and women, I now call family, is such an honour – and along the way help those who need it too. “Being apart of this Invictus family is everything”.