N.L. soldier turned reality star in St. John's raising awareness for PTSD
A soldier originally from Newfoundland and Labrador who became a British reality television star is back in this province and helping to raise awareness for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Cassidy Little lost his right leg while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, but his prosthetic leg didn't keep him from taking the top prize in the BBC's The People's Strictly dancing competition.
Even now, while in Newfoundland on a vacation, Little is still busy raising awareness for PTSD.
"I've lost two guys in the past couple months to suicide. These are injuries that are still taking lives long after the war is over," Little said.
"To ignore it is just criminal."
He said one family member who was a former serviceman and another veteran that he was part of a play with in the U.K. suffered with the disorder and eventually took their own lives.
To ignore it is just criminal.- Cassidy Little
"This isn't something that's away from us, this isn't something that exists out of our reach, it's something that's very very close," Little said.
"You probably walk past people who have been diagnosed with PTSD every single day on the streets."
22 Push-Up Challenge
As a way to raise awareness for veterans with PTSD, Little is taking part in the 22 Push-Up Challenge.
He compares the challenge to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS that swept the internet in 2014 and said the challenge is simple — 22 push-ups each day for 22 days, nominating one other person everyday along the way.
'When I hear statistics like that, it just breaks my heart."- Cassidy Little
Little said there are statistics that that 22 veterans kill themselves everyday in the U.S., and that doesn't include those in Canada and the U.K.
"When I hear statistics like that, it just breaks my heart," he said.
"It breaks my heart is only words — it does genuinely stab me right through."
Little was enjoying the opening of the George Street Festival on Thursday and completed his push-ups for the day right on the street.
"In true Newfoundland style, you guys threw a hell of a party … so we went down," he said.
"In fact, I saw the opportunity so I banged out my 22 press-ups down on the street."
Little said he has nominated his old boss at Christian's Pub and several family members as he competes the challenge.
With files from the St. John's Morning Show