Invictus Profile: Mark Hoogendoorn

A male athlete lays on a bench and lifts weights above his head.
Invictus athlete Master Corporal Mark Hoogendoorn

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“Never quit and never give up,” that’s Master Corporal Mark Hoogendoorn’s words of encouragement to all ill or injured Canadian Armed Forces members. And he speaks from first-hand experience.

Mark, a combat engineer with the Canadian Army, lost his left leg to an improvised explosive device while on tour in Afghanistan in July 2010. It was during his rehab in Ottawa that he found out about Soldier On, the Canadian Armed Forces’ program that supports serving military members and veterans to overcome their physical or mental health illnesses or injuries through physical activity and sport.

“Soldier On is what got me out of a wheelchair and in the end, they are the reason I still have a career in the military as a combat engineer,” says Mark, a resident of Charters Settlement, New Brunswick. “The mental aspect of being injured is the hardest thing to overcome on a daily basis. Having to see myself with only one leg and knowing that physically, I will never be the same, is tough,” he adds.

Soldier On is managing the team of 90 athletes heading to the Invictus Games in Toronto, September 23–30. Mark, one of the 90 athletes, will be competing in powerlifting and wheelchair rugby.

“The Invictus Games provides a unique opportunity to work with and compete against others who have had to endure similar or worse injuries than myself. It is extremely important to see others succeeding in life,” Mark says.

Having competed at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida in 2016, Mark says he would like to stand on the podium for his country this year.

“To be part of a team that helps bring people out of their homes and helps them to realize that sports can have a profound, positive affect on their lives – that’s very encouraging and powerful,” explains Mark.

When asked why Canadians should support the Invictus Games, Mark says “The Games quite literally save lives.” To his fellow Team Canada – Invictus Games 2017 athletes, Mark says “Do not be afraid of change. Embrace it. Embrace others around you because they also face challenges on a daily basis.”

Mark’s resilience, determination, and achievements back up his encouraging words of ‘Never quit and never give up.’

For more information about Team Canada at the Invictus Games – Toronto 2017.

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