The Invictus Games are not just about the competitors. They recognise the important role that family and friends play in the rehabilitation of wounded, injured or ill veterans – and the impact military service has on an entire family and community
For Gold Coast partner Paula Robinson, who is leading MinterEllison’s work for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, the community aspect of the Games is critical.
"One of the big priorities for us is the network of family and friends that support the servicemen and women. A key difference of the Invictus Games is that a lot of the program is designed to celebrate and support competitors' family and friends – we want to make sure they are just as much a part of these Games as the competitors," she said.
For Invictus Games Sydney 2018 ambassador, Leesa Kwok, this message is profound. Her husband suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following his military service, and for them and their children, the road to recovery has been worrying and difficult.
Leesa met with our partners, staff and guests at our recent cocktail event that celebrated the start of Invictus Games Sydney 2018, and raised funds for the Games. She shared her insights into why the Invictus Games have been so important for her family.
Leesa’s Invictus Games journey started with the 2016 Games in Orlando, and they gave her husband purpose.
"When these men or women are injured or become ill, they miss the comradery, they miss that unconditional support of serving with men and women who will have their back regardless of the situation. And they quite often lose their identity when they do that," she explained.
"What the Invictus Games do is take a person back into that environment of unconditional support, of comradery, of mateship. They introduce them to those people again who had their back, who understand the struggle they are going through. They bring them back into that community again."
“The Invictus Games are not a race. They are a journey. The Games change minds and inspire people.”
For Leesa, the biggest legacy of the Games in Sydney is the education about what a military family goes through.
She said that the Invictus Games journey is not just for a wounded, injured or ill veteran or competitor, it brings a whole family back together.
"It's a journey that recognises that it's not an illness or injury that affects just one person, it affects all the people around them that support and love them.
"And it's a journey that's not just about a race at the end, it's about actually getting there. Every person who actually gets there has been successful."
For Leesa and her family, the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 are a celebration.
"When he rolls out onto that court with his tennis racquet in hand, we're going to be cheering because he is there and wearing green and gold for his country... Through his journey of rehabilitation through sport, he's actually living again. I've got my husband back, the kids have got their father back because of this."
MinterEllison is proud to be the Official Lawyers and an Official Supporter of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.