Soldier On hosts Multisport Camp in Halifax
By Ryan Melanson,
Soldier On held its most recent Atlantic Multisport Camp in Halifax recently, with more than 20 serving and retired CAF members participating in a variety of adaptive sports and making connections with peers through the week.
But despite the success, those involved expressed hope that the organization can reach even more ill or injured veterans and interested participants going forward.
“We can often feel very isolated as veterans. We’re built differently, and adjusting to civilian life can be difficult. Sometimes being in a room full of veterans, you don’t even have to say a word before you start getting that sense of camaraderie back,” said S1 (Ret’d) Danielle Lidstone, who was medically released from the CAF in 2016 due to a herniated disc in her back that led to complications and required multiple surgeries.
“I’m deemed to be not physically fit to go back to work at all, and that’s very challenging. This was not ever my plan.”
Lidstone was introduced to Soldier On through archery two years ago, and still plans to pursue that sport when she applies for the Vancouver-Whistler Invictus Games in 2025 – but she said the suite of sports offered through the week, including wheelchair basketball and rugby, powerlifting, rowing and sledge hockey, were a hit with everybody. Along with hard work, the days were full of smiles and laughter, she said.
It can be challenging to admit struggles with chronic injuries or mental illness, but the benefits of seeking help and connecting with others are more than worth it, she added.
“I’m injured, I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, but I know there are others who are struggling worse than I am. We’re all honoured to be here and have this great experience, and I want to see even more veterans get that chance.”
Eileen Du Plooy, the Regional Coordinator for Soldier On in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, echoed those comments.
“We’ve had a great camp, and we want to build on that and make sure people know about our program and what we offer,” she said.
Visit https://www.soldieron.ca/Get-Support to learn more about upcoming Soldier On events or to register for the program.