Mark is a true fighter. From almost losing his life, this man started over and achieved more than the average person will ever do.
This is his story, as written to us by Mark himself.
Served with 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards from 2003-2013.
Serving in the following:
•Jamaica-2007 (Jungle training)
•Falklands-2008 (Cold weather training)
•Kenya-2009 (Pre-Afghan training)
•Canada-2011 (Pre-Afghan training)
During my time, I was promoted twice, reaching the rank of Lance Sergeant.
When in England, our role included ceremonial duties, guarding Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace, Tower of London and Windsor Castle and also took part in 4 Queens Birthday Parades.
In July 2011, whilst training in preparation to return to Afghanistan, I was unfortunately shot several times on a live firing range, through a wall. The shots hit both my right leg and right shoulder. Due to shots to my leg hitting an artery, it left me with minutes to live and had it not been for how switched on the lads I was working with were, I 100% wouldn’t be here.
After being resuscitated on several occasions that day and in the following days, I was on life support and after my leg began to cause me to have organ failure, the decision was made to amputate my leg above the knee or I wouldn’t make another day.
This upset me, not so much that I would become an amputee, as I had friends who had lost legs who were doing great things, it was losing my Army career that was hard to take.
It’s all I knew, I had joined at 18 and didn’t really have a Plan B.
After 2 years rehabilitation, learning to walk and run again, I was medically discharged from the Forces and would have to start again. I became a qualified football coach, boxing coach and personal trainer, but in truth, I needed some sort of adrenalin rush to replace what I was missing from the Army.
Having lost so much weight during my time in Hospital, I was determined to train again and be as able bodied and active and healthy as possible, but I was keen to avoid doing any sports that would involve me being sat in a wheelchair. It was just a personal thing for me, that I didn’t consider myself disabled enough to need a wheelchair, then I read that there was a Bodybuilding category for lads like myself, who were disabled, but could walk/stand on stage and I got those same butterflies I used to get before going out on patrol and I wanted in!
It’s all been a whirlwind since my first time on stage and I have become addicted to the buzz of stepping on stage and having a life that again demands discipline, routine, commitment and hard work.
My wife said after my first competition, that since losing my leg, she hadn’t seen me so happy.
•Pure Elite, held in Margate-Won the Disability category (Nov 2014)
•Phil Heath Classic in Texas, USA-Won the Adaptive Division (Mar 2015) and also got the opportunity and unexpected surprise of posing on stage with Phil Heath himself! I was invited to compete in this competition by the Head of NPC Texas, having seen my photos on Twitter.
•Saxon Classic in Stafford-Didn’t place in Novices (Apr 2015) I wanted to try my hand at able bodied competing, but this was some eye opener!
•Atlas Open in Milton Keynes-Won Disability Category and placed 3rd in Classics (May 2015)
•Hercules Olympia in Colchester-Won Disability category (May 2015)
•Guest posed on IFBB Pro USN Classic at Body Power, having been invited by the CEO of Body Power (May 2015)