"I ARRIVED in Afghanistan on October 4 2009. Four days later I was blown up by a roadside bomb."
Jason Whybrow, from Maidstone, had joined the Army straight out of school and after 18 months' ceremonial duties in Britain, he was deployed to Afghanistan with the Coldstream Guards. He survived the explosion with his limbs intact but did not escape unscathed and was forced to cope with the loss of his friend in the same incident.
"I had severe brain injuries and they didn't expect me to live," he said. "I was on a life support machine for a month and I actually died six times. Even after I got through that I had forgotten everything and everyone. I didn't even recognise my mum and spent six months in a wheelchair because I had forgotten how to walk."
Aged 19, Jason was consigned to hospital for over a year-and-a-half. But during his rehabilitation all he could think about was getting back to the front line.
"I remember running down the road away from the hospital in socks and boxers because I didn't want to do the classes and rehab," he said.
Jason eventually quit the Army but then found himself at a complete loss.
At his lowest point, Jason even tried to kill himself.
He said: "I was having flashbacks and suicidal thoughts, everything was so bad. But then the Poppy Factory showed me the light."
The organisation, which makes the Remembrance Day poppies, paid for a year working with the West Kent YMCA's Horizon Project, mentoring and teaching teenagers who have left school with nothing.