I have talked about people that inspire me in the past I want to share with you ordinary people that do extraordinary things! These are people I admire and hope we all aspire to be! Today I would like to introduce you the story of US Army Sergeant Elizabeth Marks.
Marks, from Prescott Valley, Arizona, joined the United States Army at age 17 in July 2008. As a soldier she was a combat medic. Her goal was to care for injured Soldiers as a combat medic. She performed this role until she was injured in 2010 while deployed in Iraq. She underwent 3 reconstructive surgeries on her hips to regain the ability to walk. She began swimming as part of her rehabilitation. It was during this time she fell in love with swimming. Not soon after falling in love with swimming, she began to swim competitively. She became the first female Paralympic athlete in WCAP, US World Class Athlete Program. For information on the WCAP check out: http://www.armymwr.com/wcap/default.aspx
The “Invictus Games are an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event, created by Britain’s Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing.” Marks was on her way to the 2014 Invictus games in the U.K. when she started having trouble breathing. She was admitted to Papworth Hospital, suffering from respiratory distress syndrome, where she was placed on life support for 2 weeks until she could breath on her own. The staff of Papworth saved her life by placing her “on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO.” http://ncojournal.dodlive.mil/tag/sgt-elizabeth-marks/ After arriving back home in the states she immediately went back to work and began training. 2 months after leaving the hospital she was breaking paralympic sport records in the 200-meter breaststroke!
This year in May, Marks won 4 medals in swimming in the 2016 Invictus Games! When British royal Prince Harry was presenting her final metal she did something unprecedented, she gave the metal back! Prince Harry was unsure of taking the metal but Marks insisted. She explained that she wanted the metal to go to the people of Papworth Hospital who saved her life in 2014. Donating the metal was her way of thanking the hospital staff for saving her life. Marks said before sending a message to the hospital. “I will never be able to repay you, but what you are doing is wonderful. I gave one of my medals to Prince Harry and hope it will find its way back to them.”
This amazing women is more that a hero! She is a US Military Army Sergeant, warrior, medic, survivor and most of all she is the epitome of grace and gratitude! “I don’t step onto a block or go into a pool without thinking of all my battle buddies from all around the world who suffer every day, “Marks stated. “I never go into a pool to win a medal, just to do them proud.” Great words to live by! Despite her altered path in the Army, Marks hopes her efforts continue to help and motivate Soldiers.
Who do you look up to? Who motivates you? What ordinary people do extraordinary things in your life?
U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks, right, appears with Prince Harry on an ESPN broadcast discussing the 2016 Invictus Games. Marks made international headlines Wednesday after asking the British royal to give one of her gold medals to the English hospital staff that saved her life two years ago. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program)
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