Continuing the tradition and success of the 2012 True Patriot Love Expedition to the Himalayas, the 2014 expedition offered the ultimate Canadian challenge. The True Patriot Love Expedition team of Canadian business leaders and injured soldiers skied 100km to the Magnetic North Pole, concluding the largest ever expedition of its kind.
The team of 24 corporate leaders and 12 injured soldiers worked together to conquer the physical and mental challenges posed by long days and nights in extreme weather, and raised a total of $2.1 million in support of military mental health. The funds raised through the expedition were directed to care and services for ill and injured soldiers and to mental health support programs.
Funds raised from the 2014 TPL expedition to the North Pole supported 5 critical programs that support Canadian Armed Forces men and women, veterans and their families:
- University of Southern California – Creation of Canadian version of Virtual Reality Therapy for PTSD. Now offered in 7 OSI clinics across Canada, with 54 clinicians trained in its use.
- University of Manitoba – A Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Health at The University of Manitoba, Dr. Sarah Dentry-Travis’ work is focused on the relationship between stress, epigenetics and the military. As a soldier participant on the expedition, Sarah had the unique opportunity to collect saliva samples from teammates in a challenging environment.
- Veterans Transition Network – The first empirically supported group treatment program for veterans, which addresses transition and mental health through workshops and group therapy with trained clinicians and peer support.
- Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur – The only bilingual sanctioned provider of entreprenurial training for the 5000 CAF members who transition each year. The ‘Based in Business’ bootcamps offer training resources, financing and mentoring. POE has grown to become a national program with four university campuses, including Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Paul J. Hill School of Business at the University of Regina, Dalhousie University and the University of Laval.
- Legacy Place Society – Legacy Place Housing, located in Alberta, provides a short-term, safe living environment for military personnel while they receive assistance from professional counsellors for health rehabilitation from PTSD or other medical situations.
Meet Bruno Guévremont
Bruno served in the Canadian Armed Forces for almost 15 years, including two tours in Afghanistan and one in Southeast Asia. The traumatic experiences Bruno endured took a toll on his mental health and, following his service, he was diagnosed with PTSD. Mentally, he missed the camaraderie of the military and was unsure of how to function in the civilian world on his own.
Bruno found a new camaraderie on the expedition in those who wanted to change the conversation about veterans and help inspire change within their business communities. Post-expedition, Bruno participated in the TPL-funded Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur (POE) ‘Better in Business’ bootcamp, which gave him the tools to open and operate his own CrossFit Gym in Victoria, BC.