Wounded Warrior Run underway to help Island first responders living with PTSD

WatchAn inspiring group of first responders is running from Port Hardy to Victoria to raise support for emergency workers dealing with PTSD. The Wounded Warrior run travelled over 130 kilometres Thursday alone from Comox to Port Alberni to spread a message of hope to anyone who hears it.

Runners on the Wounded Warrior Run are making noise across Vancouver Island, sharing their stories as first responders and military members who are living with PTSD.

“We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone,” said 911 dispatcher and Wounded Warrior runner Ashley Duncan.

“And we’re all in this together.”

The team is made up of military members, active police, paramedics, firefighters and 911 dispatchers.

“You know there’s callers that stick with you,” said Duncan.

“There’s calls that stick with you.”

She shared her own thoughts of suicide and self-harm, so that others would speak out too and seek help.

“I’m not afraid to talk about it,” said Duncan.

“And I feel that if I allow one other person to talk about it just based on the fact that I have, I think that that kind of means everything to me.”

Nanaimo BC Ambulance paramedic Marc Blachuras is devoted to the cause because he’s lost friends and battles his own PTSD.

“I believe in what they’re doing,” said Blachuras.

“And I think it’s going to reach out to as many people as we possibly can. It’s just we need to get those people into these programs.”

The Wounded Warrior Run is tackling the length of Vancouver Island all week long to raise awareness and funds to help the thousands affected, as well as their families at home.

All money raised goes to supporting people on the Island, from providing counselling to companion service dogs.

Retired military member Stephane Marcotte said he doesn’t know if he’d be alive today without his service dog, Sarge.

“I’m glad I’m here now because of him,” said Marcotte.

“And the quality of life is incredible. That saved so many lives. I would be stuck in my basement right now and maybe not even here.”

The runners’ goal is to raise $250,000 before reaching Victoria on Sunday and reaching as many people as they can in the communities they pass along the way.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the B.C. Crisis Centre at 1-800-784-2433. There is also an online chat service for youth  and adults.

For other crisis lines in B.C. go here. 

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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