Being part of the New Zealand Defence Force Invictus Games team has given Corporal Megan Marshall a great sense of belonging.
6 September 2017
West Auckland woman Megan Marshall is soaking up everything as she prepares to compete at the Invictus Games in Canada.
The Invictus Games is the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill active duty and veteran service members. This year’s event, in Toronto from 23-30 September, will be the largest yet, with 550 ill and injured servicemen and women from 17 allied nations – including 24 from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) – competing in 12 adaptive sporting events.
Corporal Marshall, who serves in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2009 and said that no one day for her was the same.
“The hardest part of living with a disease such as MS isn’t actually the disease itself, but how invisible it is to everybody but me,” she said.
“People only see illness and disability as something physical and that’s a huge stigma to be overcome.”
Sport is a huge part of the culture at the NZDF. It promotes teamwork, excellence, fitness and wellbeing – and can help in the recovery of those who have been injured, wounded or unwell.
This is particularly true for Corporal Marshall, who said there were no words to describe how she felt to be a part of the NZDF Invictus Games team.
“Nothing I can say will ever accurately portray what it feels like to be a member of this team. Being part of it has given me the greatest sense of belonging I have ever felt.”
Although she doesn’t know what to expect from the Games, she is looking forward to competing and seeing the team in action.
“I’m looking forward to watching my teammates’ events and cheering them on. Being part of that environment is going to be electric,” she said.
The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate awareness of the physical and psychological injuries sustained by wounded warriors.
The NZDF team is sponsored by the Auckland RSA, Christchurch Memorial RSA, Fulton Hogan, BLK and Offlimits Trust.