A 46-year-old man with family from St Asaph has fought through the loss of a leg and two bouts of testicular cancer to make it to the 2018 Commonwealth Paralympics.

Sean Gaffney is already an Invictus Games double gold medalist in 2016, 2017 World Indoor Rowing Champion, and a silver medallist from the most recent World Indoor Rowing Championships but the Commonwealth Games provided a different challenge. But in Australia Gaffney competed in the para powerlifting.

He said: "Powerlifting isn’t my passion, but the opportunity was too good to pass up. It was after a chance meeting with a Welsh team education officer at a powerlifting event in Stockport that the prospect came to life.

“A lot of hard work was put in since then, but hopefully it goes to show that at 46, it’s never too late to become an elite athlete."

A number of life-threatening events meant Gaffney nearly wasn't here to be offered a Commonwealth Games spot.

In 1999, while a part of the Fleet Air Arm Field Gun Crew, he was involved in a freak incident when training or the Royal Tournament.

While manoeuvring a 900lb gun across a 28-foot chasm the team dropped it, the barrel falling about seven feet smashing into his foot.

Gaffney, after initially not feeling any pain and trying to walk it off, said the pain was "savage", even with morphine.

He underwent 25 surgeries in an attempt to save his foot, but on the 26th conceded defeat and had his leg amputated.

Gaffney said: “I developed Septicaemia, a form of blood poisoning, and was told I wouldn’t last two hours with the only choice being amputation.

"One month later I was given my first prosthetic leg and walked out of the disability centre without the need for a walking stick.”

One month later, in January 2000, Sean joined a gym and started running in an attempt to retain service in the Navy.

He said: “It was the beginning of learning how to stand up again after a fall."

“A year after my amputation I passed my 1.5 mile and multi-stage fitness tests using the basic leg provided by the NHS. Now even at 46-years-old, I can get the pass mark required of a 20-year old.”

Despite this, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Sean. In his quest to return to active service he endured a battle with a double dose of testicular cancer from 2001 until 2007 before receiving the all clear.

Gaffney said: “By 2009 I was serving a 7-month tour in Iraq, followed by seven months in Afghanistan in 2011/2012 working as a rotary wing liaison officer overseeing the use of civilian helicopter squadron to resupply patrol bases.”

Since then he has also developed a passion for obstacle course racing.

He added: “That passion has turned into a special family affair and now my sister and wife both also have the ‘OCR (obstacle course racing) bug’.”

“OCR has given both me and my family a means to face adversity. Not only that, but it allows us to travel the country, see some amazing scenery and meet some inspiring people.”

With obstacle course racing having become somewhat of a family affair, the family also look to raise money for charity each year and this year is no different.

Their latest challenge will be Total Warrior,m and event in leads. To donate visit http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Sean-a-Gaffney.

Gaffney is also aiming to return to the top step in the of the podium at the 2019 World Indoor Rowing Championships.