Invictus swimmer gives medal to medics

Prince Harry presents Elizabeth Marks with her medalImage copyright
PA/Chris Jackson

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Sgt Elizabeth Marks asked Prince Harry to return to Britain with her gold medal for Papworth Hospital as he placed it around her neck

An American soldier has given her Invictus Games gold medal to the hospital team that saved her life.

Sgt Elizabeth Marks told Prince Harry to hand it to the medical team at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire as he placed it around her neck.

The swimmer, 25, from Arizona, became gravely ill when she collapsed with a lung condition on the eve of the first games in London in 2014.

“They absolutely saved my life and I can’t thank the UK enough,” she said.

Sgt Marks won all four swimming events she entered at the Invictus Games in Orlando for injured military personnel and veterans.

She chose to give her 100m freestyle gold to the hospital as it had been touched by the prince, who came up with the idea for the games.

Read more on this story and other news in Cambridgeshire

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Getty Images

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Sgt Marks won all four swimming events she entered at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida

Image copyright
PA/Chris Jackson

Image caption

Sgt Marks was in an induced coma for 10 days

Image copyright
PA/Chris Jackson

Image caption

Prince Harry found he was unable to fit into Sgt Marks’ team jacket in the swimmers’ tent

Sgt Marks has served in the US army since she was 17, but in 2010 suffered a serious hip injury that left her with no feeling in her left leg.

Two years ago, she became very ill after arriving in the UK for the games.

She woke up from an induced coma 10 days later in an army hospital in Germany.

“I was in hospital in London and went into respiratory distress syndrome, they shipped a team down from Papworth who put me on to ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) life support and that ultimately saved my life,” she said.

“But they absolutely saved my life and I can’t thank the UK enough for having that kind of medical support and taking such good care of me.

“So I gave Prince Harry one of my medals and hope it will find its way back to Papworth.”

She also paid tribute to the NHS and said: “Thank you, I’ll never be able to repay you, but what you’re doing is wonderful.”

Invictus swimmer gives medal to medics

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