GoFundMe launched for PTSD sufferers’ treatment program


Warrant Officer (Ret’d) Jeff Foss with his wife Karen Shelton and support dog Zeni. Foss recently attended Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder retreat in Ontario and is now raising funds to send other military and first responders. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer –

A military couple from the Comox Valley are raising funds to send current and former soldiers and first responders to a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) support program.

Karen Shelton, who works for the Department of National Defence as a civilian employee, and her husband Warrant Officer (Ret’d) Jeff Foss recently launched a GoFundMe campaign. Their goal is to send 10 people to a retreat-style PTSD clinic in rural Ontario called Project Trauma Support.

It is a non-profit charity and runs its operations from a sprawling 250-acre farm near Perth, Ont. Approximately 10 to 12 people attend separate men’s and women’s programs over five days. The program includes psychotherapy, physical activities, information sessions, lectures and group support sessions. Those enrolled are fed and housed at the site and spend most of the five days on the property.

But the program isn’t cheap and costs up to $7,000 per person. The couple knows that financial support isn’t available for everyone in need of the program.

To solve that problem, Shelton and Foss launched the GoFundMe campaign ahead of the Christmas break. While they say things have started off slowly, they are working hard to raise awareness and have set a fundraising goal of $70,000 that would cover the cost for 10 people.
Foss has intimate knowledge of the program; he attended it in December.

His PTSD symptoms began following his involvement in United Nations Peacekeeping deployments to Haiti and the Golan Heights. In 2002, he was clinically diagnosed with PTSD but suspects he had been suffering from the symptoms since travelling to Haiti in 1996. Two years ago, he was given support dog Zeni, a “godsend” he says because the four-year-old lab has eased his symptoms.

He heard about Project Trauma Support from a friend at the Vancouver Island Compassion Dog Society.

“For me, the road getting to participate in Project Trauma Support involved 23 years of searching for answers, carrying the burdens, trying to deal with it all and just soldiering on,” he says.

He says he returned home from the program a changed man.

Shelton, his domestic partner of over 23 years, noticed the change.

“Taking the course has given him a different perspective. He seems to have a different energy about him, and it seems like the weight of all the stress and anxiety in his life has been taken off his shoulders and a new calm has taken over.”

Project Trauma Support is a non-profit charitable organization and has received financial support from the True Patriot Love Foundation, Boomer’s Legacy and Veterans Affairs. For more information visit their website at projecttraumasupport.com. Donations to the GoFundMe account started by Foss and Shelton can be made at www.gofundme.com by searching Send Vet to Project Trauma Support.

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