Jackie Cummings, a veteran and paramedic, talks about her experiences with Wounded Warriors Canada’s Trauma Resiliency Program at the Wounded Warriors Run BC launch. A team will run across Vancouver Island to raise awareness and funds for the organization that provides mental health supports to veterans, serving military and first responders. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Wounded Warriors Run BC gets ready to hit the road

Local runners aim to raise $100,000 for PTSD-related programs, supports

A team of brave runners will be making their way down the Island from Port Hardy to Victoria at the end of the month as part of the Wounded Warriors Run BC.

The team, made up of veterans, current serving military, first responders and supporters, will be raising funds and awareness for Wounded Warriors Canada — an organization that delivers mental health programs and services to veterans, military members, first responders and their families who are dealing with operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“We’re there to show everyone that if we talk about it and touch more people, more people will come for help and not suffer in silence,” said Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warriors Canada ambassador in Victoria.

One of the programs offered by the organization is called BOS — Before Operational Stress — which helps people identify symptoms of PTSD and learn how to address them. There is also a program called COPE — couples overcoming PTSD every day — that has treated at least 300 couples already. Both programs started in Victoria.

Jackie Cummings is a veteran and paramedic who recently graduated from a Wounded Warriors Canada’s Trauma Resiliency Program. It brought veterans, serving military and first responders together for three days to learn about PTSD.

READ MORE: Langford Fire Rescue partners with Wounded Warriors to focus on mental health

“Through my jobs, I have been exposed to things that most people don’t wake up to and go to work and find in their normal day,” Cummings said as she described her journey with Wounded Warriors Canada.

Cummings noted the program helped her connect with the others who were in it.

“For the first time since my injury I truly felt like I had found my people,” Cummings said. “A lot of us had finally found words and explanations for the things that we had been experiencing that actually made sense … to be able to stand in front of a room or alongside others and go ‘wow, me too, you just finally nailed it for me, thank you.”

Cummings said they were exposed to things in their daily life that most people don’t encounter but the program gave her and other participants tools to work with.

“The thing with PTSD is that we live in a very stoic culture,” Cummings said. “We put on a strong front, we tell our stories and a lot of those stories are void of emotion. What [the program] did was strip that down and make us connect to that emotion.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Wounded Warriors ride to Victoria in memory of fallen soldiers

The Wounded Warriors Run BC team is looking to raise $100,000 this year for the organization. At the launch, donors such as the Saunders Family Foundation, Serious Coffee and Tilray made donations to the team. Langford Mayor Stew Young also announced that the team will receive $10,000 at the finish line from the City and the West Shore Developers Association.

Zweng said after the launch, the team had raised about $30,000 already.

The run will start on Feb. 25 in Port Hardy with athletes covering more than 600 kilometres in seven days. They will reach their final destination, the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, on March 3.

This is the sixth year the run has taken place in B.C. and runners plan to stop at Legions and in communities to share their stories and raise awareness and funds.

Anyone interested in donating can visit the team’s website here.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lexi Bainas column: Roger Sparkes honoured, CVAC art show now new and improved

A well-deserved posthumous award goes to Cowichan Theatre’s biggest booster

Workshop helps Cowichan residents understand basic of dementia journey

Free Getting to Know Dementia workshop to Duncan on Thursday, May 2.

Drivesmart column: Liability: pedestrians and drivers turning left

Alexander Zacher was walking to work early on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014 in Tsawwassen.

Robert Barron column: Will the opioid crisis ever end?

There were 31 small white crosses placed about a half-foot apart

VIDEO: Next up on ‘World of Dance’: Vancouver Island’s Funkanometry faces ‘The Cut’

Fans of Funkanometry: the Vancouver Island hip hop duo that have reached… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

Coming up in Cowichan: Easter Eggspress; knitting workshops

Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress at the BCFDC The Easter Eggspress is… Continue reading

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read