Air force brat determined to beat multiple sclerosis at Invictus Games
Corporal Megan Marshall is using the Invictus Games to confront her battle with multiple sclerosis.
Marshall, 32, said her diagnoses of MS in 2009 changed her life, but for a long time she tried to ignore it.
"I had really dark days and turned people away," the Swanson resident said.
"I just thought nobody understood. I didn't even understand, so if I couldn't understand then how could anybody understand what I was going through."
MS is a central nervous system disease which affects movement, sensation and body functions.
The Auckland resident said the hardest part of living with MS isn't the disease itself but how invisible it is to everybody.
"People only see the illness and disability as something physical and that's a huge stigma to overcome."
But Marshall, who refers to herself as an 'airforce brat' as both parents served with the airforce, said she was determined not to let the disease beat her.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force logistics specialist is part of the 25-member team from the New Zealand defence force taking part in the Invictus Games in Canada.
Inspired by Prince Harry, the Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill active duty and veteran service members, held from September 23-30.
Marshall would compete in the powerlifting event, in the over 61kg category, and indoor rowing.
She said she hoped her story would encourage more defence personnel to sign up for the next games.
"I was terrified of signing up because I didn't want to get rejected. I didn't want to hear that what I had wasn't good enough to be in the Invictus Games.
"But there is still not much knowledge out there about the games.
"There's people out there like myself that are saying they're not qualified enough or there's not much wrong with them to be able to compete."
Marshall said she was looking forward to being around other defence personnel who were striving to do better.
"There's no judgement from anyone, you just accept that everyone's facing their own battle.