Four years after losing his left leg in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bjarne Nielsen is about to embark on one of the toughest challenges of his life.

Starting Tuesday, a group of veterans and prominent Canadians are going on a 10-day trek through King Christian Island, a remote island far above the Arctic Circle. 

They're on a mission to raise awareness about the challenges faced by former soldiers.

Iqaluit cenotaph Arctic Expedition

Members of the True Patriot Love expedition, the local cadet branch, and other well-wishers pose at Iqaluit's cenotaph prior to the 10-day trek through King Christian Island, far above the Article Circle. (CBC)

"I spent six months laying in a bed, figuring out what I'm going to do," Nielsen said. "I think laying back and wallowing about it isn't necessarily a good thing."

Nielsen and 11 other veterans were honoured in Iqaluit over the weekend at the official launch of the Arctic expedition.

Nielsen says he sees teamwork as the key to survival, whether in Afghanistan or in the high Arctic.

"I'm feeling pretty blessed to be amongst all these people here, to be able to go on this expedition knowing that they support me just as much as I would support them."

Genevieve Lacasse Iqaluit 2014

Olympic gold medalist Genevieve Lacasse shakes hands with Nunavut premier Peter Taptuna after arriving in Iqaluit. She's joining 12 veterans on a 10-day trek through King Christian Island in the Arctic. (CBC)

The trip was organized by the True Patriot Love Foundation, an organization that helps veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Olympian Genevieve Lacasse just won a gold medal in women's hockey in Sochi, Russia.

She grew up in a military family and says talking about PTSD is important.

"Sometimes there's that stigma of being a tough guy and, you know, it's not about being tough. It's kind of normal."

The group will spend the next 10 days in 24-hour sunlight, skiing and lugging gear through unforgiving cold.