This gold medalist deserves a shout-out for returning her award to Prince Harry.

Do you know about the Invictus Games?

This year's just wrapped up in Orlando, Florida, and they might just be the coolest sporting event not on your radar.


Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games.

The event brought together more than 500 athletes from 15 different countries. And the competition was fierce.

Launched in 2014 by Prince Harry, the games allow both active-duty and veteran military members who've been injured to compete in various sports.

First lady Michelle Obama and Prince Harry meet with kids of service members at the opening ceremony. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games.

"The word 'Invictus' means 'unconquered,'" the event's website explains, noting the games were launched to honor those who've sacrificed for their countries — not give them sympathy.

"It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, ill, and injured service members and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury."

While every athlete there deserves a salute, Sgt. Elizabeth Marks, a 25-year-old in the U.S. Army, did something during the games that was especially cool.

Sgt. Elizabeth Marks poses with Prince Harry. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games.

After dominating in all four of her swimming competitions, Marks handed one of the gold medals she won back to Prince Harry, who had presented her with the award.

Instead of keeping the medal herself, Marks — who has no feeling in her left leg after sustaining a hip injury in Iraq about six years ago — requested Harry give it to Papworth Hospital in the U.K.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games.

Why? The folks at Papworth Hospital "absolutely saved [her] life" at the Invictus Games in 2014, she said.

Two years ago, Marks nearly died at the games in London. Papworth came to her rescue.

Marks fell ill after arriving across the pond to compete and woke up days later after having been in an induced coma.


Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images for Invictus Games.

If it hadn't been for the team at Papworth, who'd scrambled to put her on life support after she went into respiratory distress syndrome, Marks likely wouldn't be alive today.

"I can't thank the U.K. enough for having that kind of medical support and taking such good care of me," she said, BBC News reported.

"How do you say thanks to the people that saved your life?"

Marks' selfless gesture of gratitude embodies what the Invictus Games are all about: honoring those who've sacrificed for others.

Whether they be a service member, a nurse, a teacher, or even just a friend who helped you survive a particularly rough time, we all have people in our lives who deserve credit in getting us where we are today.

Marks' story serves as a great reminder: Now is the time to tell them thanks.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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