During a visit to Canada to promote a sporting event for injured and ill service members, the U.K.’s Prince Harry said it was his mother’s interest in obscure causes that inspired him to do what he’s doing today.
“If you are one person, it’s very, very hard to come forward. But what we’d managed to create is a platform and a community where people, individuals and families as well, can all come together and share those experiences and know, for themselves, that they are not alone,” he told Canada’s CTV.
The event, called the Invictus Games, is a competition among active servicemen and women and veterans from all over the world that started in 2014. The goal of the event is to support recovery and rehabilitation of members of the military and to promote understanding with the public on what it means to serve their country.
“I have seen that the games have given competitors new hope as they recovered from serious injuries and illnesses. And just as importantly, it’s given their loved ones new hope as they support them along this journey,” Harry wrote in the Toronto Star.
Harry, who served in the British military for 10 years, has spoken out about mental health issues, something he struggled with after his mother, Princess Diana, died when he was 12.
“Emotions were locked away very, very early,” he said.
“Invictus” means “unconquered” and was chosen because it represents the fighting spirit of the men and women who continue to thrive despite their illnesses and injuries.
Harry started the international event after watching the Warrior Games, a similar but local event, in Colorado in 2013.
“I was watching men and women—some of whom thought their lives were over after having been told they would never walk again only a few months earlier—giving it their all on the track, the field, and in the pool. But it was more than that—I was watching them laugh, smile, and have the time of their life,” Harry wrote in the Star.
This year, the games are being held in Toronto from Sept. 23 to 30. The 2018 games have already been scheduled for Sydney, Australia.