STRICTLY’s JJ Chalmers is battling an agonising leg infection – but has vowed to waltz through the pain barrier.
The former Royal Marine and Invictus Games 2018 host was severely injured in a bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan in 2011 and has yet to have shrapnel removed from his leg.
Fragments from the explosion are etched into his body and still spark bouts of pain.
But JJ has refused to drop out of Strictly following his most recent flare up, and said he will be hoping not to put a foot wrong with dance partner Amy Dowden when they return on Saturday night.
He said: “Whilst there’s a level of pain and sensitivity with it, it’s not anything I’m not used to. These are just the genuine side effects of being alive, that’s the simplest way I can put it, enduring some level of pain.
“Until it gets to you know, an unbearable point or a really discomforting point, I’m not going to allow it to stop me doing what I love doing. And right now that’s dancing.”
He added to The Mirror: “But on the flip side, it might seem quite alarming to people that I’ve done most of this competition with an infection in my leg but that’s just the reality of what happens with this particular piece of shrapnel until they remove it.”
The explosion that caused JJ’s injuries claimed the lives of two soldiers and left nine others maimed or traumatised.
JJ suffered injuries to his arms and legs, lost two fingers and was left with scars on his face and chest, where one arm was temporarily grafted to his body.
In 2016, he landed a spot hosting the Invictus Games.
He was also part of the presenting team for the BBC’s Trooping of the Colour coverage in 2018.
JJ is a close friend of Prince Harry after meeting Harry in June 2014 at a rehabilitation triathlon.
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The prince persuaded him to enter the first Invictus Games that September, and JJ won gold in a cycling event.
JJ and his wife even received an invite to all parts of Harry’s 2018 royal wedding.
The former marine said being picked for Strictly is “completely off the chart”.