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

Penelakut filmmaker Steve Sxwithul’txw finds success in film and TV

Cop-turned-storyteller reaches back to his past for Tribal Police Files

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

VIDEO: Scorpion found in B.C. woman’s kitchen finds new home in Victoria

The Victoria Bug Zoo welcomed the scorpion on Saturday

B.C. getting less bang for its buck

B.C.’s CPI topped 2.7 per cent in April 2019, compared to two per cent for all of Canada

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read