Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~
Sergeant Jayden Cormier is not unlike many of the participants in Victoria’s 8th Annual Walk to Fight Arthritis, in that he has a personal connection to the Arthritis Society’s annual fundraiser.
His mother Denise, is one of 4.6 million Canadians suffering from the debilitating disease. Simple daily tasks have been inhibited by frequent bouts of pain, he says.
“While online a couple of years back I noticed an ad for the Arthritis Society, and The Walk immediately struck a chord with me because my mother has been battling Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoporosis for the past 27 years,” says Sgt Cormier.
After seeing the ad, Sgt Cormier rallied members of The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) to assemble for a special 15 kilometre rucksack portion of The Walk to Fight Arthritis.
“When I phoned the Arthritis Society to explain our regiment’s Junior Ranks’ intent to ruck The Walk, they were overjoyed,” says Sgt Cormier.
This year he will continue this community outreach with the help of his new unit, the 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, who will submit a 10-person team.
“I think our participation in The Walk lets members of the public recognize the important role of Canadian Armed Forces personnel. By giving back to the community in this manner, it helps strengthen the ideology that we as CAF personnel are not only representatives of communities, but people within them.”
Last year his team contributed approximately $1,000 to the Walk to Fight Arthritis, which raised $1.2 million nationwide from Walks held in 30 cities across Canada.
“Marching a 15km distance with the weighted ruck sacks was decided upon by the group, not only to bring in physical challenge, but it created a buzz about a good cause,” says Sgt Cormier.
Because of his efforts last year, he was asked to become the sponsorship and marketing coordinator for the Victoria Walk to Fight Arthritis. There is also a Walk taking place in Parksville on the same day.
Both commanding officers at the Bay Street Armoury, LCol Brendan B.Y. Leblanc, head of the 5th Field Regiment, and LCol Stephen Sawyer of the Canadian Scottish, have been fully behind his efforts to get reservists involved in supporting the event and to strengthen community enrolment within their regiments.
“Everyone I speak to seems to know somebody who is suffering from arthritis and the support is snowballing this year. I am hoping the size of the team will triple,” says Sgt Cormier.
Encouraging anyone and everyone to get involved even includes his own mother. After undergoing reconstructive surgery to ease her symptoms, she agreed to become the coordinator for this year’s Walk to Fight Arthritis in Parksville.
The Walk to Fight Arthritis happens on June 4 across the country. For more information or to register, visit walktofightarthritis.ca.
Filed Under: Top Stories
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