Allan Kobayashi

Allan Kobayashi

Wounded Warriors ready for Island run

NANAIMO – Fourth-annual relay raises money for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Vancouver Island’s Wounded Warriors are about to set out on their fourth annual relay run to raise money to fight post-traumatic stress disorder.

Six runners will start from Port Hardy Monday (Feb. 20) on the 600-kilometre Wounded Warrior Run B.C. and finish in Victoria Feb. 26.

This year’s run is starting a little later for “logistic reasons,” said Allan Kobayashi, the run’s co-founder.

“Our spouses were not too supportive or appreciative of us being away there during Valentine’s Day, that’s for sure,” Kobayashi said.

He and Dan Bodden, a search and rescue technician, started the run to raise awareness and support Wounded Warriors Canada, a non-profit organization originally created to help Canadian Forces members wounded during military service. The organization now focuses on mental health issues and stress injuries suffered by military personnel and emergency responders.

Kobayashi, now a petty officer second class with the Royal Canadian Navy, suffers from the disorder, which developed from his experiences in Kosovo in the 1990s and in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2003 when he served in the army with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

But, Kobayashi said, anyone can suffer from PTSD, not just emergency responders or those who served in the military, and it can cause ripple effects to the sufferer’s family and social network.

“PTSD is a human condition,” he said. “It’s from a human being witnessing a trauma or being a part of or involved in a trauma.”

The runners tread from Courtenay to Nanaimo Feb. 24, one of the longest stretches on the route when each runner will cover at least 20 kilometres. The team will arrive at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 257 in Lantzville at 3:45 p.m. The run moves on to Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 at 5 p.m. and runners will make their final stop of the day at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 10 for dinner at 6 p.m.

To date, the Island run has raised about $100,000 for Wounded Warriors Canada, but far more than what is raised on the Island comes back to support Island PTSD programs.

“Just over $100,000 that the Wounded Warrior Run B.C. has raised, over $500,000 has gone to this Island for programs like COPED, Couples Overcome PTSD Every Day, and other programs that have directly helped people like myself and families,” he said.

Donations can be made online at the Wounded Warrior Run B.C. website at www.woundedwarriorrunbc.com, which also lists full details about the run and the team.

Donations can also be made directly to the team while they are on the road or at any Royal Canadian Legion branch on the route.