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US soldier asks Prince Harry to donate her gold medal to UK hospital that saved her life

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Prince Harry has shared a poignant moment with a US soldier at the Invictus Games. The royal was presenting Sergeant Elizabeth Marks with a gold medal at the 100m freestyle swimming event, when Elizabeth returned the medal and asked Harry to donate it to a British hospital that saved her life.

Elizabeth was treated at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge in 2014. She was due to compete in the first Invictus Games in London but collapsed with a serious lung condition and was put on life support for ten days.

When she came out of her medically induced coma, she was so touched to meet the staff who had saved her life.


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Sergeant Elizabeth Marks returned her gold medal to Prince Harry

After Harry looped the medal around her neck, Elizabeth, 25, posed briefly with the accolade, before taking it off and giving it back to the Prince.

"Please, give it to them," she said. "Are you sure?" asked Harry, before accepting the medal.


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Elizabeth was treated at Papworth Hospital in the UK in 2014

The Paralympic swimming champion, from Arizona, explained: "They absolutely saved my life and I can't thank the UK enough for having that kind of medical support and taking such good care of me. So I gave Prince Harry one of my medals and hope it will find its way back to Papworth."

Fighting back tears she paid tribute to the hospital, saying: "Thank you, I'll never be able to repay you, but what you're doing is wonderful."

"It's just an honour to be here and stand next to all the other soldiers, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be."

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Harry tried on Elizabeth's Team USA jacket in the competitor's tent

She added: "I was a little apprehensive, I was nervous because of what had happened last time but I was eager to perform and show my team and show the other countries how much I love their support."

"When I came out of my coma to see all the pictures of them supporting me while I was there, without even knowing I was in that state, made me cry like a baby so it was a chance to give something back."

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Elizabeth suffered a serious hip injury in 2010

When the hospital heard that Elizabeth had donated her medal, they issued a statement thanking their former patient. Dr Roger Hall, medical director at Papworth Hospital, said it was "extremely generous and unexpected" while Claire Tripp, interim chief executive, said they would like to meet with Elizabeth to thank her in person.

Elizabeth joined the US army aged 17. She suffered a serious hip injury in 2010, which left her with no sensation in her left leg, but she has since come back fighting and still serves in the military.

In the competitor's tent, Harry showed off his playful side as he tried on Elizabeth's petite Team USA jacket. The pair chatted and joked around before heading out for the medal presentation.

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