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2024 DoD Warrior Games: Tuesday, June 25 - Indoor Rowing 0800-1130 and Wheelchair Basketball Prelims 1500-1915. Click here to watch live. GO TEAM ARMY!

NEWS | June 23, 2024

Team Army and Team Australia - A Cancer connect and friends for life

By MaryTherese Griffin Army Recovery Care Program

A chance trip to the ladies' room during a powerlifting competition at the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando, Florida brought two Army competitors together: U.S. Army Capt. Hannah Wright and Australia Army Sgt. Emily Lahey.

“We’re gonna be friends for life!” said Wright.

The two learned of each other's cancer diagnosis and an instant bond was formed. “I'm on long-term medical leave due to terminal cancer,” said Lahey, who worked in human resources and finance in the Australian Army. “I’ve been out of the workforce for a few years, and coming here allows me to have that sense of purpose. It's been something to focus on, just the sense of camaraderie and being around like-minded people brought together through adaptive sports that all have their own story. It’s pretty phenomenal.”

Wright shared her diagnosis of ovarian cancer just two years ago and the long journey back to health she went through. She is still working hard every day. She is Team Army’s Ultimate Champion athlete this year. She took the bronze for her weight class in powerlifting but found a more significant win in meeting Emily.

“It’s incredible,” explained Wright. “I mean, I'm the only one on my team that had a cancer diagnosis, so meeting people like Emily and hearing her story is amazing. There’s something about meeting people who also have cancer, have beaten cancer, are going through treatment; or are being done with treatment that most don’t understand. Just being able to meet someone else that knows is incredible. I mean, we met in the lady's room!” she giggled.

“Yeah! That’s where the best type of friendships happen,” Lahey chimed in.

Like old friends, the two talked about their favorite sports. Lahey indicated that rowing is her passion as she used to row in school. She went on to share how she musters the strength to be here as she is still going through treatment while at the games.

“I think you have to be positive,” said Lahey. “The power of mindset is so understated. You’ve got two choices; you can sit at home and wallow in self-pity, or you can get out there and make the best of it. When you are told your future is unknown, what else are you going to do?”

Both agree that controlling what you can and getting in the right mindset is critical. “You must grab life with both hands and wake up with a different perspective,” said Lahey. “You have to be grateful you are here and well enough to participate.”

“We are here, doing our best, and it’s part of our recovery,” said Wright.

At the end of the day, Lahey looks at everything as a win. “I have to remind myself that compared to the average competitor; I might have a little bit more going on, but I’m here doing it, and there's so much joy in that. And I made a new friend!”