Army hero Jonathan is ready for the future

Army veteran Jonathan Mitchell is certainly up for a challenge.

Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 5:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 5:22 pm
Army veteran Jonathan Mitchell, from Whittle-Le-Woods, is off to Australia later this year to compete in powerlifting at the Invictus Games. Jonathan was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in 2012 and was given an 8 percent chance of survival. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday May 19, 2018.

A man to be alongside in the trenches, he’s already battling the odds in his fight against a rare and aggressive form of cancer that left him staring down the barrel of a gun – an eight per cent chance of survival.

Now he’s preparing to beat what is in front of him at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 later this year after making the UK team.

Jonathan, 31, of Whittle-le-Woods, was chosen in the 72-strong team – together with fellow Lancastrian Michelle Turner, from Burscough – unveiled at Horse Guards Parade last week.

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Help for Heroes is again delivering and training the team.

Before his cancer diagnosis, former sergeant Jonathan, who was in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, represented the army at powerlifting and was also a Great Britain representative in the sport away from the forces.

That is what he will compete in at the games.

He still looks on the army as his “brotherhood” and was devastated when the disease took him away from it.

He found his medical discharge harder to cope with, and is looking forward to the Games giving him back what he lost when he left the military.

He said: “I knew that I would be tested but I never thought the outcome was to be a medical discharge, losing my second family.

“My defences and pride had been destroyed, and I grieved the loss of the army, becoming depressed. I miss feeling that sense of pride and not a part of the brotherhood.

“Invictus will give me focus and drive to continue my battle with cancer and give me the strength to take care of my young family.

“It’s not about medals. It’s about being a part of a family. Going through everything together - highs and lows. It means everything to me.”

Now working in health and safety in construction, he is married to Lisa, his “rock”.

They have a five-year-old daughter Poppy - given that name because his wife discovered she was pregnant on Remembrance Day - who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

“She’s the same as me, taking medications as though nothing is wrong,” said the proud dad.