The Silent War

Last year on Sunday 29 September, I sat down with Canberra Times Sunday Editor Scott Hannaford and photographer Melissa Adams to share my story about life with PTSD, depression and life after I hung up my uniform and packed away my boots.

Scott had seen this blog and contacted me via Twitter and asked if I wanted to take part in a story he was putting together on Veteran’s experiences with post traumatic stress disorder and life after deployment.

For a few hours we sat down and talked about my time in Iraq and Afghanistan and my fundraising/awareness raising for Soldier On.  On Sunday 13 October 2013, Scott published a story in the Canberra Times about my fundraising campaign leading up to the 2013 Battle Of The Beasts.

CanberraTimes Article.:Click here to read the original story at the Canberra Times:.

After months of hard work Scott’s story was published in all major Fairfax newspapers and online with a suite of interactive media including our interviews and photos from overseas.

Below is my interview from the Canberra Times website and video interview with Scott and Mel.

.:Click here to view my video interview:.

.:Click here to go the interactive website:.

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Battle Of The Beasts – Update #2

It seems my updates are now a tri-weekly occurrence.   So three weeks after the inaugural Battle Of The Beasts Update.  I present to you Update #2.

The fundraising for Soldier On and raising awareness for veterans support services has been going quite well after a few hiccups.  I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit naive with my requests for industry and business support.  I had approached several Defence related companies and numerous local Canberra businesses for support and sponsorship. Because I believe in this cause so much and understand the good it does for so many I was incredibly dejected at the amount of rejections I was receiving.

Out of the sixteen requests I submitted I have received eleven rejections and five no replies.  I find it incredibly difficult to understand how a business which makes hundreds of millions of dollars from Defence contracts cannot donate money to charity.  I understand that I am one fundraiser, a very small cog in a very large machine, however some of these companies DO NOT DONATE ANY MONEY TO THE DEFENCE COMMUNITY.  OK rant over and I’ll move on!

I’m still hopeful of hearing back from some of the local Canberra businesses and have been given some advice from friends that have done this sort of thing before.  Social media is really helping especially friends sharing on Facebook and retweets on Twitter.  There are a lot of people out there that support our wounded veterans.

To date $1’665 has been raised thanks to some very generous friends.  I need to thank Craig Passante for his massive $500 donation.  Craig has been very supportive of my fundraising this year and last year and continues to be a very strong role model for young veterans like ourselves.

So with a little over three months to go before The Battle Of The Beasts, I’ve got a fair bit of work to do to reach my goal of $6’000.  I’ve got a few media stories and interviews in the works for newspapers, MTB magazines and hopefully TV & radio if things go to plan.

Some keen eyed readers would have noticed I’ve started a training regime working up to the BOTB in October.  Last year I rode the event not knowing what was ahead of me and to be honest I was overwhelmed physically and mentally by the enormity of the ride.  Since last years race I’ve been able to complete a couple of big endurance races with relative ease.

Through trial and error I have worked out with the right nutrition and hydration plan I am quite capable over long distances on the bike.  This year I aim to be fitter and better prepared for the challenges I will face during the climb-heavy race.  While I will never win a race of this magnitude I want to race against myself.  I have a few on course goals I want to achieve and a few people I really want to leave in my wake.

So I am juggling not only my home life, upcoming Wedding, work, fundraising and veteran’s advocacy; I am slowly working my body into what I need it to be to tackle the Namadgi ranges for a second time.  I will need to be better at endurance climbing and able to focus my mind on the ride and not on the pain and kilometres remaining in front of me.

So before the Battle Of The Beasts I have a few CORC XC races, countless commutes and training rides; and a couple of 3hr XC races to keep me honest.  And as always I will be proudly wearing not only my Soldier On jersey but also my team kit displaying my beloved The Berm name and logo.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me on and off the bike.  I’ve had a few big set backs with the fundraising and would like to acknowledge a couple of people that have been a huge help: Carly, Scotty, Nat P, Dylan H, Mel C, Argo, Ben H, Nigel J, Roger H and Pete A.  These are the people that have given me invaluable advice and kept me focused on the big picture.  Thank you!

CORC XC Rd 3 #01

Rocking my Soldier On jersey at Round 3 of the CORC XC Series