Seven-day Wounded Warriors run raises awareness about PTSD

Growing up in Quebec, Steve Deschamps and Stephane were inseparable.

Growing up in Quebec, Steve Deschamps and Stephane were inseparable.

The duo would build camps together, play war and dream of serving in the military.

Both had parents who were also serving in the military, so they grew accustomed to the lifestyle of constantly moving around.

Eventually, they went their separate ways — Stephane joined in the military, while Deschamps moved away with his father and worked in forestry for a number of years in B.C.

In 2005, Deschamps finally did what he’s wanted to do since he was a child — he joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a steward and diver out of CFB Esquimalt. He went on to deploy to the Persian Gulf with HMCS Protecteur for nine months, where he participated in drug trafficking operations.

“I always wanted to serve my country,” said the Esquimalt resident. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I’m very active so the military provides me with a chance to keep myself healthy and in good shape.”

But during his time in the Navy, Deschamps never forgot his childhood friend.

One day, Deschamps was talking to another friend who served with Stephane when he found out that Stephane had been released from the military. He had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, being unable to cope with it, he committed suicide.

Deschamps was shocked by the news.

“It was very tragic. When he came back from (deployment), he wasn’t talking about it, he was a very quiet person. Sometimes we can only take so much,” he said. “I just wanted to be there. There wasn’t much I could do but be present.”

Now, Deschamps is doing his part to raise awareness of the disorder by running in the third annual Wounded Warriors Run B.C., where six runners, many of whom served in the military or navy, will relay run the length of Vancouver Island from Port Hardy to Victoria.

The group will run for seven consecutive days, covering roughly 600 kilometres, and will stop at legions and fire halls along the way to raise awareness about PTSD and connect with people suffering from it.

“Mental health, there’s a lot of stigma about it. People don’t talk about it, but doing the run, people will see us running and talking about it and maybe it will save lives,” Deschamps said.

Jeff Kibble, spokesperson for the run, said the impact that runners have on people suffering from PTSD is profound.

“When they (runners) do come across people who are literally out of options and don’t know how to carry on their daily life, and they see the team and they reach out and get help — that’s priceless and it’s the ultimate impact you could ever ask for,” he said.

The run takes place from Monday, Feb. 22 to Sunday, Feb. 28. Live tracking will also be available to see where each runner is. For more information visit woundedwarriorbc.com.

The Wounded Warrior Run B.C. is an event supported by Wounded Warriors Canada, which has no affiliation with the Wounded Warriors Project in the U.S.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria women’s program in critical need of household items for women

Everything from dining sets to beds is needed to keep their programs running

Peninsula Panthers face nemesis Victoria Cougars Friday night

Cougars are the only Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team to have beaten the local Cats twice

Confused semi driver drives wrong way on Malahat, backs up morning traffic in both directions

Stalled, unoccupied car also affecting morning commute near McKenzie Avenue

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

CUPE Local 441 and SD63 have yet to reach an agreement at the bargaining table

Sustainable food advocates gather in Victoria for annual Good Food Summit

Attendees can take part in field trips, hands-on learning, keynote presentations

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

Brian Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

Report predicts drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses

Victoria Jazz Orchestra concert raises funds for the Single Parents’ Resource Centre

Maria Manna on tap for the Nov. 16 performance in Victoria

Renowned men’s chorus ‘Back by Popular Demand’ in Victoria

One of Canada’s premier singing ensembles kicks off its 39th season on Nov. 16

Most Read