This tweet, from a journo whom I went to school with, sent me down an internet rabbit hole.
The tweet is very recent. The story a bit older.
It’s a good news story for at least two people. The fine young Ben and for older Ben at least.
So, welcome to the #WATWB We Are The World Blogfest post for September 2021. Please follow other posts with the #WATWB. And…back to the story.
So Ben Farinazzo is a former Australian Army Officer who did tours of duty in the East Timor peacekeeping operation. He has been living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has recovered from a mountain bike accident causing a spinal injury as well.
I was fighting an internal battle against post -traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. I then broke my neck and back in a mountain bike accident. It felt like I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Three years later I represented Australia in indoor rowing and powerlifting at Invictus Games Sydney 2018 and was fortunate to win two gold medals. Today, I am a proud Australia Day Ambassador and support mental health, veterans and sport.
This is a fabulous story about brokenness, reconnection and resilience. You may also want to check Ben’s Youtube channel for footage the like the screenshot of the one featured here.
Those in Australia, and other participating nations, would be aware that Sydney just hosted the Invictus Games 2018. The Games website reveals that there is a story behind the Games:
The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus.
Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Horrors so great that many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries, while serving us. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries? How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability to an international audience?
But, I wish to look at one of the, shall we say, back stories behind the poem ‘Invictus’ chosen as the poem for the Games. The poem is by William Ernest Henley and the Invictus Games website tells us that Henley…
was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness. The title means “unconquered” and the 16 short lines of the poem encapsulate the indefatigable human spirit, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games.