“At home, I wasn’t fun anymore; I was angry and suspicious of everyone…”
“Rehab was long and difficult, and I often became frustrated…”
“After such a physically demanding career, I truly thought my life was over…”
These are just some of the feelings a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member with a visible or non-visible illness or injury may suffer. They are raw. They are real. They are life-altering. At the time when ill or injured members are trying to come to terms with their new reality, Soldier On continues to play a pivotal role in helping them on their path to recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
Created in 2006, Soldier On is a highly visible program and an integral component of the Department of National Defence’s and CAF’s priority towards the health and well-being of military members and their families. The program has helped more than 700 ill and injured members to increase their independence, develop new skills and restore the joy and freedom of living an active and healthy lifestyle.
Soldier On is more than just sport. The sailors, soldiers, airmen and air women who have participated in Soldier On activities come from different walks of life and experiences, but they all have one common bond – their lives have changed. Soldier On furnishes an opportunity for them to socialize and explore common interests, and share learning experiences. They also have a shared perseverance to go on, to honour sacrifice and to Soldier On. Despite adversity, they prevail.
Many ill and injured members credit Soldier On with helping them to develop new skills, build hope and confidence in their abilities, to realize their full potential and move forward in life.
Here’s just a sample of what Soldier On participants are saying and doing:
“It’s hard to find words to describe it. There’s something about being around other people with similar experiences and struggles. You don’t need to explain anything. They’ve been through it, so we just talk. It definitely helps on the psychological end of things.” MCpl Chris Downey. Participating in the Walking with the Wounded Allied South Pole Challenge.
“Soldier On has been an excellent source of inspiration. They not only supply us with equipment and coaches to meet our needs, they also provide us with a safe environment to challenge ourselves to get moving in ways we may not have thought possible.” Sgt James MacIntyre. One of eight Soldier On members who participated in the Nijmegen Marches.
“It was a safe place for everyone to relax and enjoy fishing, but it wasn’t really about the fishing. It was about getting outside and being active with like-minded individuals. The experience boosted my confidence and my spirit, and helped me get past the “what ifs?” and the stigma attached to mental health.” Sgt (retired) Doug Brown. Participated in Soldier On’s Healing on the Albany event.
Read their stories and learn more at www.SoldierOn.ca.