I was born in Edmonton AB and grew up in Squamish and Pender Harbour BC. I joined the CF in 1988. I felt the CF was a way for me to push myself physically and gain skills for a career. I trained very hard prior to attending Cornwallis and received the highest scores for physical fitness for a female in my platoon. Following Medic training I was posted to Petawawa ON. After 6yrs of exercises and taskings I realised that I wanted more and was accepted UTPNCM to attend university. After 4yrs, I received my degree in Nursing and was voted Valedictorian by my peers.
My postings included Petawawa for twelve yrs, CFB Borden (Afghanistan 04-05 with 2 PPCLI)and CFB Kingston where I currently reside with my currently serving military husband and four children. My husband had four tours and I have been on the other side of the fence as a CF Spouse, single parent as well. These challenges become increasingly significant when there are injuries, both visible and invisible, for the member and their families and children.
I suffered a crush injury to my right ankle, in my first year of service, which required a bone graft and was told I would never walk properly again and that my ankle would be fused. I fought very hard, the surgery was a success and I was able to continue my career after much physio and gym work. I also had my right knee injured while transferring a patient to a helicopter. During Basic Officer Training I tore my left ACL ligament. These ligaments have both been replaced and six surgeries later the only alternative I have is for total knee replacements. Being about fifteen years too young for this type of surgery I was forced to medically release from the military (after a 22 year career) in order to preserve function and life of my knees and ankle.
My injuries, while not directly related to Afghanistan, reflect what a majority of soldiers suffer, training injuries during their service career. These are no less reflective of dedication to Canada or the sacrifice that goes with the effort and subsequent injury. I currently work as a Nurse Case manager for the CF. I assist the ill and injured every day, either to rehabilitate back to work within the CF or to transition out of the CF.
I am honored to be a part of True Patriot Love Expedition: Himalayas. This opportunity to raise awareness for the ill and injured will help me gain insight to the challenges that my fellow CF members face as well as how I face my own injuries and coping skills on a personal level. A challenge of this magnitude forces a person to look deep within them to find inner strength and to work with others when they themselves have nothing left to give, to succeed and survive. I see myself as a survivor and have not let my injuries set me back from taking risks and challenges in my life. This expedition will help all Canadians see, and try to understand some of the challenges faced by our injured soldiers, their families and children.
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