Say what you will about Prince Harry enjoying a good time now and then, but there's no arguing that he inherited his late mother's penchant for giving back.
Harry announced Friday at the launch of the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge that he's going to embark in November (continuing through December) on a journey to the South Pole that will last up to four weeks. A polar guide, a mentor, a medical team, and a support crew, will accompany each team.
"The aim remains the same," the 28-year-old prince told the media at a press conference in London. "To enable our wounded to do what they and all other servicemen and women do better than anyone else I know. To meet a challenge head on and overcome it and inspire others to do the same."
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The veterans will consist of three teams of representatives, one each from the U.S., the U.K., and the Commonwealth (Canada and Australia). They'll hike and ski 208 miles to the finish, averaging between 9 and 13 (or up to as many as 20) miles a day through snowstorms, fierce blizzards, dangerous glaciers, and other extreme natural challenges. Each team will carry a pulk (an arctic sled with supplies), weighing more than 150 pounds.
Although it's not a race, Harry joked that he has no doubt that his British teammates’ competitive spirit would turn it into one. "We are not allowed to officially call it a race, but I think we all know what will happen," the prince continued. "These men and women have given their all in the cause of freedom. That they should once again step into the breach, this time facing down the extreme mental and physical challenges of trekking to the South Pole just underlines their remarkable qualities. Toughness of mind; an unquenchable spirit that refuses to say 'I am beaten.'
His British team consists of Sergeant Duncan Slater, 34, of Muir of Ord in Scotland, who, in 2009, lost both legs in a blast in Afghanistan; 34-year-old Major Kate Philp of Worcestershire, who, in 2008, lost a leg after a bomb blast; Captain Guy Disney, 31, of Oxford, who, in 2009, lost his a leg in a rocket attack; and 36-year-old Captain Ibrar Ali of York, who, in 2007, lost his right arm in a roadside bomb.
The charity has led teams in the past to the North Pole and has also attempted to reach the summit of Mount Everest
The U.S. team will be organized by Soldiers to Summits, and is comprised of Ivan Castro of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who was blinded in an attack while he was serving in Iraq; Margaux Mange of Lakewood, Colorado, who suffers from Bells Palsy, Trigeminal, Occipital Neuralgia, and PTSD; Mark Wise of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who has a partial hand/forearm amputation, facial rebuild, and burn wounds; and Therese Frentz of Del Rio, Texas, who sustained burns, internal injuries, and partial hearing loss resulting from a suicide bomber.
It's certainly not the first charity with which Harry has been involved recently. In late February, he visited the impoverished African country of Lesotho in conjunction with Sentebale, the charity he co-founded to provide services to children living with HIV and AIDS.
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