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Coming Together to Raise Awareness for PTSD

by Shanine Sealey

There are brave men and women from around the world that risk their lives every day to save others. When the call comes, everything is dropped so they can put their extensive training to work and maintain composure in some of the most unimaginable circumstances. Many of these brave individuals have spouses at home that worry each time they head out the door to an emergency situation, not only for their physical well-being, but also for how these situations will affect their loved one mentally.

June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) awareness month, and the spouses of members of the Martensville Fire Department wanted to do something to bring attention to this disorder, which affects thousands of Canadians each year. With emergency personnel being most vulnerable to the effects of PTSD, experiencing twice the rate of the average population, it was important to the group to show their support and to help raise funds for those that are experiencing PTSD. “Various supports are available for people with PTSD, including family service agencies, mental health agencies, counsellors and therapists, family doctors, religious leaders and workplace employee assistance programs,” Terri Dyck, wife of Fire Chief Kurtis Dyck, explained.

This year marks the first year that a fundraiser will be held among the spouses of the MFD to raise money for PTSD. “When the FireFit competition was confirmed, I wanted to use the opportunity to give back to our firefighters in some way; something for our brave First Responders. Then the Humboldt tragedy happened and my heart not only goes out to the family and friends of the victims but to the First Responders as well. I feel that raising money for Post Traumatic Stress is the answer,” Dyck added. As the spouse of a First Responder, Dyck realizes that mental health is a serious issue, and that people are hesitant to discuss it. “First responders are twice as likely to experience post traumatic stress disorder because of the traumatic situations they are exposed to everyday on the job. Bringing not only awareness but also help to those suffering from any type of mental health issue needs to be a priority. We want to raise money to help make that happen.” There are several organizations that work to help First Responders within the province with PTSD such as Saskatchewan Fire Service Critical Incident and Stress Management and the group is currently doing research as to which organization(s) will most benefit from more funding.

Thanks to the support of many local businesses, the spouses have organized an online auction to help raise money for this incredible cause. Major sponsors that have already come on board include; WestJet, Martensville Kinsmen Club, Wrench Fitness/Crossfit 3126. Other businesses/individuals that have supported their cause include; Canadian Tire, Shopper’s Drug Mart, SaskTel Centre, Saskatoon Fire Department, ClassC Artisan Boutique, Soul Power, Lindsay Wunsch, Delightful Pieces, Sherry Campbell, Redhead Equipment, Recyclized, Salon Exhale, WMW Home’s, JAGplus, Kim Matheson and many more. The online auction will begin on Facebook this month with items posted that will be available for bidding – details to follow.
In addition to the online auction, the group will also be selling raffle tickets for one round trip flight for two to any regularly scheduled WestJet destination. Tickets are available for $10 each and can be purchased from any MFD member or their partner. If tickets are still available, they will be sold at the Sports Arena during the Firefit competition on June 2nd and 3rd. Those wanting to contribute can also purchase PTSD Awareness bracelets, Fire Hall Dalmatian stuffies (Adopt-a-Pup) and other special items at the Firefit competition or at The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, Puddle Jumpers Preschool, PAWS Republic, and Salon Exhale with a minimum $5 donation.

A steak night catered by The Caesar Mill will also be held Saturday, June 2nd at the Martensville Curling Rink. Tickets can be purchased for $25 and include your choice of steak or chicken. For those interested in attending the steak night, or would like to contribute goods and/or services to this cause can contact terri.kurt@sasktel.net, or (306) 227-2673. Although many items have already been received, more items are always welcome and items received following the online auction will be used to raise funds during the steak supper.

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