Walk For The Wounded 2.0 looking for sponsors, participants
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday July 29, 2021
The Walk For The Wounded 2.0 presented by Arrowhead Coffee Company is looking to unify people in the same goal: helping veterans and First Responders.
On Sept 4 and 5, up to 12 teams of four EMS, police and military members will walk from the gates of Garrison Petawawa to Ottawa. They will traverse a distance of 170 km, broken down into 4x42 km legs completed relay format. They will stop every hour to do 22 push-ups. Each of these push-ups represents a U.S. soldier who has taken their own life, according to a 2012 study by the American Department of Veterans Affairs.
Though that is an American statistic, there are many Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veterans and serving soldiers suffering from mental health issues.
According to Statistics Canada, 44 per cent of CAF members surveyed experienced symptoms consistent with depression or anxiety at some point between 2002 and 2018. More than 36 per cent of veterans reported that they had a difficult transition to civilian life in another study. That number climbed to six out of ten for veterans who had a mental illness.
“You have no idea what its going to be like until you are out,” Dylan Pace, Founder and Co-Director who is now one year out of the military. “No one understands except for other veterans.”
Knowing that many are suffering, Walk for the Wounded is looking to address those issues. The fundraiser will collect donations for Wounded Warrior Canada with a goal of $50,000.
Though Wounded Warriors does primarily help those affiliated with the military, the organization also offers its services to First Responders, who suffer from many of the same challenges.
The organizers for this fundraising walk are either current or former military members and have known the hardships that come with multiple deployments, training and being away from loved ones for months on end. Every single one of them has lost someone either overseas or at home. And they have seen their brothers and sisters in uniform struggle with mental health challenges, especially after releasing from the CAF.
They wanted to find a direct way to help, creating this fundraiser and its earmarked charitable organization as a solution.
“We see a lot of holes in the system in place,” said Pace, pointing out they truly have faith that Wounded Warriors Canada is a good group to bridge those gaps.
He chose to create partnerships as he is a firm believer in the adage that “Many hands make light work.”
Mental health has been its own pandemic and one that is often hidden in the shadows.
Doing this long walk helps bring the conversation out in public, and it also humanizes the uniform as most Canadians have little idea what it is like to wear one.
“Everybody looks at the news in the states and assumes it must be like that here,” said Pace.
The walk is the main fundraiser, but Pace and his team hope to grow their charitable organization into something bigger, allowing all veterans who are struggling to connect to people who understand and relate.
“We want to help people,” said Pace.
And the point would be to help people, not just those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but those who are struggling with loneliness, grief and lack of purpose.
“There are lots of gaps that can be filled and people want to do that,” said Pace.
There will be a fun afterparty at the end of the walk, if restrictions allow, complete with activities and food for all.
To donate, become a corporate sponsor, or join the event, please visit the Walk for the Wounded Facebook page or www.walkforthewounded.ca. The hashtag used for the event will be #walkforthewounded or @walkforthewounded.