Steve Deschamps has had multiple people in his life who live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In fact, he spent his whole life growing up on a military base, and now he works in the navy. The runner is one of three men who did the Wounded Warriors training run from Sooke to Sidney, raising funds that support programs for those impacted by PTSD.
“The cause is very close to my heart,” Deschamps said. “It’s a little overwhelming to see the people on the streets and have their support.”
Sunday’s 65 km run made pit stops at Langford fire hall, the Saanich Police Department, and ended at the newly constructed fire hall in Sidney.
This run is a warm up for the yearly relay event that goes from Port Hardy to Victoria within a single week. The 600-km run down Vancouver Island is completed by a team of eight veterans, first responders and supporters. The run begins on Feb. 23 and ends in front of B.C. Legislature on March 1.
“It blows you away because you would never imagine that this would have grown to something so big,” said Allan Kobayashi, co-founder of the run. “So many people have opened up. It’s about people sharing that venom and being willing to talk about their problems.”
The run began in 2013 and initially had a goal to raise $5,000. Now, organizers are aiming $250,000. They’ve already raised nearly $75,000, as of Feb. 9. Last year, they hit their goal of $100,000.
Langford Mayor Stew Young was in attendance at the runners’ pit stop and shared how proud he is to support Wounded Warriors. “We need to be there for those who struggle with PTSD day in and day out,” Young said to the crowd.
Those interested in supporting Wounded Warriors Canada can donate online at woundedwarriors.ca/events/wounded-warrior-bc-run.