Meet Kirstie Ennis, The Marine Vet And Amputee Who Inspired Prince Harry

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Who Is Kirstie Ennis? New Details On The Marine Vet And Amputee Who Inspired Prince Harry
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Kirstie Ennis is a former U.S. Marine who had the majority of her left leg amputated after sustaining a series of injuries caused by a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. She and Prince Harry bonded back in 2015 when she walked for one of his charities, Walking with the Wounded. Just this past May, she set out to be the first below-the-knee amputee woman to climb Mount Everest. She only got as far as 200 meters from the finish line before she had to stop, but that was enough to earn her the Pat Tillman Award for Service, which honors an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others.

Who is Kirstie Ennis, who is Pat Tillman, and what did they do to earn such royal respect?

1. Pat Tillman was an NFL linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Pat Tillman put his career on hold to serve with the Army Rangers. Unfortunately, in 2004, he was tragically killed. His friends and family established a foundation in his name to honor his legacy. Marie Tillman, Pat’s wife, said, “Pat lived his life with passion and conviction, driving forward in the face of any obstacle that crossed his path.” She chose Ennis to receive the award because she “see[s] that same drive and courage in Kirstie as she continues to push the limits and achieve her best. We are proud to present the Tillman Award to Sgt. Kirstie Ennis for her service and leadership.”

2. Kirstie has already reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Carstensz, Mount Elbrus, and Aconcagua. 

Her climbing team’s most recent attempt, Mount Everest, was almost successful—they came within 800 feet of the summit when they had to turn back due to life-threatening technical problems. “I tried,” she told People, laughing about her spectacular endeavor. “There’s no summit that’s worth somebody’s life. When I looked down onto my climbing partners’ faces, it wasn’t [worth it]. Going back down is worth it. My heart went into the bottom of my very fake left leg—but we did the right thing and I’m proud of that. I saw the summit and tasted the air. But peoples’ lives matter and I never, ever turn my back on that. We came home safe and we came home happy.”

RELATED: Who Is Christopher Kulish? New Details On The 11th Person To Die On Mount Everest This Year And How He Died

3. Her next goal is to run seven marathons on seven continents.

Taking a break from the scale-all-seven-of-the-world’s-highest-peaks ambition, her next aspiration involves staying closer to the ground. She’s also previously won national titles in snowboarding and swimming. Wow, she definitely earned this sports award.

4. She founded The Kirstie Ennis Foundation to inspire veterans through adaptive sports excursions and grant funding for veteran organizations.

She also travels the country raising funds for and supporting several other causes. Just days after returning home from her Mt. Everest trip, she attended the Mad Hatters Tea Party to raise money for the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation and Nevada’s StoryBook Homes Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic, which focuses largely on the long-term health needs of childhood cancer survivors.

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Leah Scher is an ENFP finishing her degree at Brandeis University. She's an alumna of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. She's passionate about Judaism, poetry, film, satire, astrology, spirituality, and sexual health.