As the Wounded Warriors Run continues its journey down the Island, one runner is encouraging more mental health conversations following a loss a few years ago.
The run begins in Port Hardy and eight runners trek in a relay style from the small town, down and through to Port Alberni and eventually finish in Victoria.
Wounded Warriors is a non-profit that offers programs for military veterans, first responders and their families so that they feel supported through challenges in their lives. That includes trauma resiliency, PTSD and programs for spouses and youth.
For runner and Port Alberni RCMP Cst. Maria Marciano, the run is more important after her experience with trauma.
“In February 2019, I lost a member, my co-worker and I called him my unofficial partner,” said Marciano. “I feel like we need to keep pushing the message of support and understanding and mental awareness and mental health.”
She adds bringing in conversation is the key to helping others get through these difficult times in their lives.
“Talking about what happened forces me to step out of my comfort zone,” said Marciano. “I tend to keep a lot of my emotions in check a lot of times so, talking about it forces me to realize my emotion and then it’s okay.
“That was a big thing for me to want to talk about it here in front of my co-workers, to let them know that there is support and that they’re not alone in whatever struggles that they’re going through.”
After leaving the Comox Valley early Thursday morning, the runners are working their way down towards Port Alberni.
The run is scheduled to finish on Sunday in Victoria. For more information about the run and how to donate a rider, you can visit Donation – Wounded Warrior Run BC (akaraisin.com).
They have raised over $83,000 as of Thursday morning, with a goal of $250,000. They add 100 per cent of the funds raised stay on Vancouver Island.