Two Invictus Games competitors receive opportunity of a lifetime thanks to British Benevolent Society
London, 9 June 2016 – Two Invictus Games competitors have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to head to San Francisco where they will share their experience with other wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women and find out more about programmes that actively recruit veterans into work.
The trip has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the Invictus Games Foundation and the British Benevolent Society (BBS).
Louisa Walker, who competed in the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014 and Nathan Cumberland, who participated in both the London 2014 and Orlando 2016 Games, were selected by a judging panel as the two competitors who would most benefit from this opportunity.
Nathan Cumberland was in the British Army for 10 years where he served in the Grenadier Guards and within the 3rd Battalion Parachute regiment in the Guards Parachute platoon. As well as Operational Deployments in Kenya and the Falkland Islands, Nathan was deployed to Afghanistan. It was there in 2009 that he stood on an IED which resulted in him losing his left leg below the knee and the right leg above the knee. For Nathan, taking part in the Invictus Games has been hugely beneficial in helping him train towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and competing alongside injured comrades.
Louisa currently works in the National Cyber Crime Unit at the National Crime Agency. Prior to this she spent 16 years in the Royal Signals and competed in many sports, representing the Corps. Injured in the Falkland Islands in 2012, it took a while for the full extent of her injury to settle and accept that as well losing her favourite job, she wouldn’t be able to compete in the sports she enjoyed so much.
The jam-packed schedule will include exciting activities such as visiting Lucasfilm, the studio best known for creating and producing the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Nathan and Louisa will also have a video call with representatives from Disney’s Heroes to Work scheme, a company-wide initiative to hire, train and support returning veterans.
They will spend time at Google where they will meet some members of the organisation’s veterans network. This 1,200 strong network is made up of veterans, reservists and family or friends who come together to create a community of support and service.
Their visit to San Francisco will also include two visits to non-profits supporting veterans – the Farmer Veteran Coalition whose mission is to mobilise veterans to help feed America and Swords to Plowshares, a community-based organisation which provides essential assistance to roughly 3,000 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year.
Nathan, who is one of only very few amputees in the UK trying out a prosthetic made by LIM Innovations, a R&D firm based in San Francisco, will have a chance to meet other amputees and hear from them on how they are adapting to their prosthetics.
The visit coincides with the British Benevolent Society’s Ball to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday, held in collaboration with the British American Business Council of Northern California and the St. Andrew’s Society of San Francisco. At this event Nathan and Louisa will be sharing their story to an audience of 250 people.
Nathan Cumberland explains: “The Invictus Games is so much more than just taking part in sport, it also gives you a huge boost in self-confidence and pride. I know that being involved in the Invictus Games has played a huge part in my recovery – it helped me realise that I do get a second chance at life and that I can make the most of it. I’m really looking forward to the trip to San Francisco and having the chance to share my experience with fellow wounded warriors.”
Louisa Walker adds: “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with my recovery. In 2014 the first Invictus Games were held in London and there was a buzz of excitement in the air. Many others like me who strive to compete in sports and be part of a team were getting that opportunity to do so again. I realised that there was nothing to stop me getting involved in adaptive sports. I thank the Invictus Games for this opportunity and reminding me that injury is not the end, it’s the beginning!”
Dominic Reid, Managing Director of the Invictus Games Foundation explains: “We’re very grateful to the British Benevolent Society for giving two Invictus Games competitors this incredible opportunity. It’s a fantastic chance for them to share their story and experience but also learn a huge amount from other organisations doing such great work in supporting veterans. We look forward to hearing about all they learn on this trip and using this knowledge to help the Invictus Games Foundation support even more wounded, injured and sick Service personnel.
Kathleen Kimura MBE, President of the British Benevolent Society said: “The BBS is extremely proud and excited to have formed this relationship with the Invictus Games Foundation and looks forward to continuing to expand on that relationship in its mission to assist British citizens in need.”
The British Benevolent Society is a charity which raises and spends money for the aid, relief, maintenance and assistance of sick, elderly, disabled or financially distressed British citizens, who are resident or transient in California or who are resident or transient in any of the states covered by the British Consulate General office located in California.
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