Prince Harry, who has struck up a close friendship with Afghanistan veteran Kirstie Ennis, lent his support to the 24-year-old after she had her leg amputated on Monday.
Kirstie Ennis, who hails from Florida, joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17, and was deployed to Afghanistan, where she was badly injured in a helicopter crash in 2012. Ms. Ennis suffered injuries to her arms, brain, spine and legs, but decided to take part in the Walking With the Wounded expedition despite her wounds.
Walking With the Wounded is a service charity that was set up in 2010, with the mission of retraining and re-education the servicemen and women who were injured in the line of duty. The charity organises annual expeditions to various parts of the world, to inspire wounded soldiers to lead adventurous and fulfilling lives despite their disabilities.
It was during one of these expeditions that Prince Harry first met the brave war veteran. Ms. Ennis was the only woman to take part in the 72-day challenge, and the pair bonded during a part of the gruelling 1000-mile trek across Britain last September. The trek managed to raise £250,000 for the charity, and when Ms. Ennis finally completed the journey from Moray, Scotland to Buckingham Palace after three arduous months, she was greeted with a hug from the Prince.
Having completed the trek, Ms. Ennis felt that she was ready to have her injured left leg removed. She expressed her appreciation for Prince Harry’s support, and posted pictures of herself on Instagram, both before and after having her leg amputated. “By postponing my surgery (to take part in the trek), I was just prolonging the inevitable. I was looking forward to the surgery so that I could move on with my life,” Ms. Ennis told the Mail on Sunday. “Prince Harry has been very supportive. It makes this all a bit easier, knowing that there are people out there who believe in me.”
“Initially when doctors told me that I would be losing my leg I was concerned with body image, which is quite shallow,” she added. “I wanted to show that with or without my leg, I am still beautiful.”
His Royal Highness has been in daily contact with Kirstie Ennis following her operation. Unfortunately he was unable to visit her, due to his prior commitments to charities in South Africa. However, Prince Harry will be attending the second Invictus Games in May – and Ms. Ennis is optimistic that she will compete.