Warriors run across Vancouver Island for mental health

PO1 Kobayashi, Dan Bodden and Richard McIlmoyle

Runners (left) PO2 Allan Kobayashi and (right) Sgt Dan Bodden meet up with sponsor Dr. Richard McIlmoyle of Achieve Health for a health assessment just before commencing the Wounded Warrior Run BC.

Five Canadian Armed Forces members have undertaken an arduous journey this week, running from one end of Vancouver Island to the other in the name of mental health.

PO2 Allan Kobayashi, creator of the Wounded Warrior Run B.C., began the initiative following his own personal struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“I did everything they told me. I went to therapists, support groups, psychiatrists, and doctors, but I never felt like it was enough,” he says. “Once I got involved with Wounded Warriors I found there was an organization looking to help people just like me, and I wanted to do what I could to contribute back.”

The six-day relay style run across Vancouver Island started Sunday in Port Hardy and will end Friday in Colwood.

“It’s quite a distance,” says PO2 Kobayashi before the run. “We’re all experienced runners, so I think we’ll be just fine.”

That being said, PO2 Kobayashi isn’t looking to take any undue risks for the team. Runners will only be on the road during the day, and will be followed by support vehicles full of food, water, and medical supplies should any need arise.

“The only thing we had to worry about was packing on a few pounds before we ran,” he says. “We’ll be shedding more than our fair share of weight running that far.”

Money gathered through fund raising will go to Wounded Warriors Canada, a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Armed Forces members who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada.

Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors Canada helps injured CAF members with a wide range of programs and services, focusing on mental health and the effects of PTSD.

The run is an independent venture, with support coming from the Royal Canadian Legion Yukon Command. Legions across the Island are lending a helping hand with fund raising and event support.

“They’ve been really instrumental in making people aware of the event,” says PO2 Kobayashi. “Without them it would have been a lot harder to get the word out.”

The event, at its heart, is one of thanks.

A former infantryman with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, PO2 Kobayashi went on several deployments including Kosovo and Afghanistan. Upon returning home he found himself changed, and with the help of programs such as Wounded Warriors he has been making his way back.

“There are a lot of programs out there to help people suffering from work stress injuries and PTSD, and Wounded Warriors is one of them,” says PO2 Kobayashi. “Untold number of military service members are going through the same struggles every day, and I want them to know they can come forward. If raising some extra money helps a few struggling people find their peace I’ll be thrilled.”

For more information, or to donate, visit www.woundedwarriorrunbc.com.

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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