Shining Light on the Unconquered Spirit
During the closing ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto, Prince Harry issued a challenge to everyone watching to create their own Invictus goal; to affect change within their families and communities. “Let’s create a ripple effect of the Invictus spirit across our nations. That will be the real legacy of this extraordinary week."
BioFlex Laser Therapy was honoured to be one of approximately 50 exhibitors at the Ontario Accessibility Innovation Showcase (AIS) last week, an official Invictus Games event. To be surrounded by companies comprised of such passionate and innovative individuals, who seek to improve the lives of those in need of such assistance was truly awe-inspiring. To all of our fellow exhibitors, whom we hold in the highest esteem: we’re not merely creating a ripple, we’re making waves.
We would like to thank everyone who attended the Ontario AIS, and allowed us to share what we do. Thank you to everyone who made the Ontario AIS possible, including the incredible staff and volunteers of the Invictus Games. Congratulations to all of the Invictus Games competitors! We thank you for your service, courage and tremendous example of the unconquered spirit.
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. Invictus by William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus has inspired countless, including the late former South African President, political activist and humanitarian, Nelson Mandela, who used to recite the poem to fellow prisoners during his decades long incarceration.
‘Invictus,’ the Latin term meaning ‘unconquered’ is the perfect title for the Invictus Games, as unconquered are the spirits, feeling of patriotism and camaraderie of the more than 550 servicemen and women (active duty and veterans) expected to participate in the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario beginning Saturday, September 23, 2017. A poem to inspire anyone to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity, the Invictus Games provides an outlet to not only allow competitors to declare their resilience and personal fortitude as relayed in the poem, but provides the community at large the opportunity to celebrate the paradoxical strength of selfhood and unity of us all. In declaring ‘I AM’ the master of my fate, regardless of circumstance, the Invictus Games serves to heal, to promote recovery and to unify through the power of sport.
All participating competitors, hailing from 17 nations, answered the call of duty for their country and returned, injured, wounded or ill. It is through the healing power of sport and competition that these servicemen and women represent their countries, providing spectators (many of us lucky enough to never know the terror of combat or horrors of war) with an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate our wounded servicemen and women, respect and honour their sacrifices, and the many who fought before them.
Inspired by the USA’s Warrior Games, Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games, which focuses upon the continued recovery of servicemen and women and veterans through sport on an International scale. Invictus competitors will compete in a number of adaptive sports, including: archery, golf, swimming, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
Prince Harry (sometimes referred to as the ‘People’s Prince,’ for his humanitarian efforts) has a passion for the recovery of servicemen and women, as he has an impressive military career, himself. Prince Harry served in the British army for 10 years, completed two tours of Afghanistan and rose to the rank of Captain. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals) in 2008. (In fact, it is a great honour for me, the author of this article to write about Prince Harry’s humanitarian efforts and success, as I gave his mother, Princess Diana, a rose during one of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s trips to Toronto, Ontario, when I was four years old. Celebrating Prince Harry’s humanitarian success of the Invictus Games, while honouring our servicemen/women and veterans in my hometown, 20 years after Princess Diana’s tragic death is a time I will never forget.)
The inaugural Invictus Games was attended by over 400 competitors from 13 nations in London, England in 2014. A great success, the second Invictus Games was held in Orlando, Florida in 2016.
Toronto, Ontario will host the third Invictus Games from September 23-30, 2017. As Canada celebrates 150 years of confederacy this year, hosting the Invictus Games provides Canadians the unique opportunity to reflect on the freedoms and safety we enjoy. While this type of reflection is usually impersonal and removed, as we pour through history books or watch films which recount the horrors of war, spectators of the Invictus Games can look upon the faces of servicemen and women who will never forget- will never take the freedoms we enjoy for granted- as they answered the call of duty, so many of us need not do so.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies will feature not only men and women from the Canadian Armed Forces, the Parade of Nations (Opening Ceremonies) and raising of the official flag, but world dignitaries, celebrities and music stars, including: Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Alessia Cara, The Tenors, Sarah McLachlan, Laura Wright, Coeur de Pirate and La Bottine Souriante. The Ceremonies are sure to promote patriotism, pride and insight into some of the lives of the honoured service personnel and veterans, as tribute will be paid to some of the experiences endured by the Invictus athletes.
The Invictus Games is supported by many partners, ambassadors and champions. Ambassadors include Canadian actor, comedian, screenwriter and film producer, Mike Myers, and English soprano and crossover singer, Laura Wright. A few supporting foundations and institutes include the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) and the True Patriot Love Foundation. Individuals including, retired master corporal, Jody Mitic, Veteran, Entrepreneur and North Pole Explorer, Bruno Guevremont and retired Army Sergeant, Noah Galloway are Champions and Supporters of the Invictus Games.
The wounds and trauma suffered by servicemen and women can be life-changing. Meditech International Inc. (manufacturer of BioFlex Laser Therapy systems) donated twelve professional BioFlex Laser Therapy Systems to war-torn countries, including Afghanistan and Cambodia, throughout the years to assist in the healing of wounds and other maladies suffered by service personnel and civilians, including children. Our founder, Dr. Fred Kahn has had much success in treating concussions, a common injury suffered by both civilians and servicemen and women. A few of his many extraordinary success stories are recounted in Norman Doidge, MD’s bestselling book, ‘The Brain’s Way of Healing.’A natural fit for the Invictus Games, BioFlex Laser Therapy is honoured to be one of approximately fifty exhibitors at the Ontario Accessibility Innovation Showcase (AIS), an official Invictus Games event, September 25-26th, 2017 at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto (123 Queen Street West). The Accessibility Innovation Showcase is an event highlighting innovative technologies and devices created to assist those with disabilities, including disabilities that are a result of combat.
BioFlex Laser Therapy is honoured to be affiliated with such an event. Please stop by our booth at the Ontario AIS, September 25-26th, and follow us on social media for updates, as we continue to shine a light on our honoured servicemen, women and veterans.
References available upon request. Photo credit: Robbie Adams.
Disclaimer: While treatment of TBI/concussion is not an approved protocol of BioFlex Laser Therapy, this application may be practiced by Licensed Health Care Professionals, as long as it is within their scope of service.