Soldier On Through Adversity
Jul 15, 2015

At the time when ill or injured servicemen and women are trying to come to terms with their new reality, the Canadian Armed Forces’ Soldier On program continues to play a pivotal role in helping them on their path to recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration.

The pathway to recovery can be long, lonely and often full of adversity from dealing with constant unfamiliar emotions and the unknown. Coming to terms with a physical or mental health illness or injury can be a very stressful and often challenging experience. Life as the member once knew it is suddenly quite different. Changes in sleep patterns, emotional outbursts, anxiety, sadness, anger, guilt and/or shame are just a few of the strong feelings they experience. Simple daily tasks that most of us take for granted such as getting dressed in the morning to go to work or going to the local store to pick up groceries has now become a challenge.  

The opportunities provided through Soldier On empower and inspire ill and injured members to overcome this adversity, through sports and other physically challenging activities.

“Reintroduction to an active and healthy lifestyle is the vehicle we use to help them overcome their adversity,” explains Major Jay Feyko of Soldier On. “But it is much more than just sport. It is about helping ill and injured to realize their potential and helping them adjust to their new normal. They still have abilities. It’s about helping them to build that confidence and showing them that they can Soldier On.”

Since its inception in 2006, Soldier On has helped over 1,300 ill and injured members to accept their new normal and move forward in life.

“The Healing on the Albany excursion was a safe place for everyone to relax and enjoy fishing, but it wasn’t really about the fishing,” explains Sgt (retired) Doug Brown. “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.”

Soldier On is funded through a combination of Government allocated Public funding and the Non Public Soldier On Fund, one of several charitable funds of the CAF benefitting members, former members and their families.

The Soldier On Fund is the most direct way for Canadians to support the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of ill and injured members of the CAF. The Fund has disbursed more than $2.5 million for the purchase of fitness and sporting equipment such as bicycles, ski packages and fishing equipment as well as training and travel expenses to participate in regional, national and international events.

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© FrontLine Defence 2015