“I felt like they were helping me heal,” was how breast cancer survivor, Mareike Jänsch, described her time volunteering as a Team Liaison at the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023
“It’s hard to describe my experience, because, even a few weeks later, I’m still processing all of it.”
Mareike is a resident of Düsseldorf and thought it was a no brainer to apply to be a volunteer at the Invictus Games.
She didn’t have any preference for who she helped as a volunteer but was delighted to be assigned as the Team Liaison for Team New Zealand.
“I love my Kiwis. They were all so lovely and kind and saw me as part of the team from Day 1,” and she was even given jersey from the team to wear, which she did proudly.
Mareike was extremely moved by the love shown to her by Team New Zealand and was invited to be a part of a performance of the Haka with the team, which she described as a “honour”.
“I never would have thought what impact it made on me,” were her thoughts, as Mareike is a breast cancer survivor and realized that the New Zealand team were helping her to heal as much as she was helping them.
“My team, the Kiwis, were so inspiring to me.”
“I have battled breast cancer myself but seeing what these amazing people went through and where they are now is amazing.”
She was showered with gifts and memorable trinkets from her new friends but the memories that they shared were the greatest gift she said she received.
Her friendship with Team New Zealand won’t just be limited to their time shared at the sixth Invictus Games, as Mareike is now planning to visit her new Kiwi friends next year.
Mareike is incredible grateful for her new Invictus ‘whanau’, the Māori language word for extended family.
It was always her dream to help at the Invictus Games, but she never thought it would have this profound an impact on her.