Lance Corporal John-James ‘JJ’ Chalmers, a Royal Marine commando, was left fighting for his life after suffering devastating injuries in a bomb blast. He had been on a foot patrol with 11 other soldiers charged with clearing a bomb-making factory in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in May 2011 when one of his comrades stepped on a pressure plate that activated an IED.
Chalmers’ fellow Marines did what they could to patch him up in the 25 minutes it took for a helicopter to arrive to ferry him to hospital at Camp Bastion. He was on the operating table there within the hour and, after being stabilised for 24 hours, he was flown back to the UK barely clinging to life.
He endured 30 operations, many lasting 12-14 hours, but the one that stands out in his memory involved saving his right arm – from which a large lump had been gouged – by sewing it inside his midriff. Surgeons cut open his abdomen and folded the loose flap of skin over his arm before sewing it in place.
Despite the loss of two fingers, a disintegrated right elbow and badly injured legs, he tried out various sports in a bid to speed up his rehabilitation. Eventually, he discovered recumbent cycling, an event in which competitors lie in a tricycle and pedal with their feet stretched in front of them.
He proved good enough to qualify for the British team in Prince Harry’s 2014 Invictus Games for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women and even won a medal. But he is happy to be in the studio rather than on the track during the Paralympics.
To book JJ Chalmers as the sports speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing email@example.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.
When at corporate events, JJ is known to cover the following topics:
- Olympic Speaker
- Sporting Success
- Overcoming Adversity
- The Olympic Games
- British Media & TV