Red Deer man brings PTSD world cycling fundraiser home
Updated: August 25, 2018 – 9:05am
A former Red Deer man brought his world-wide fundraising cycling tour to his hometown this week.
Brian Nadon and his 6-year-old golden retriever Ginger have embarked on The Golden Tour to raise funds and awareness for his foundation, the Vatic Foundation, which supports Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related illness.
Nadon began his tour in the Maritimes in June before making his way to Quebec in time for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and to Ottawa for Canada Day. They are travelling across Canada before heading south to Patagonia, the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
His trek hasn’t been without its share of adversity so far, especially in Ontario where he battled through an immense heat wave and a week-long delay after his bike frame snapped. Thankfully, it was replaced through warranty, saving him an expensive repair bill.
Nadon figures he’s biked about 5,500 kilometres since hitting the road 76 days ago.
“Our goal is to try and put in about another 1,500 kilometres and make our way to Vancouver, and then over to Victoria where we’ll stop and rest for two months. Then we’ll continue our adventure cycling from Vancouver down to Pantagonia, which is about 10,000 kilometres.”
The first two weeks of his journey, Nadon admits, nearly led him to pump the brakes on his efforts.
“By the time I ended up getting to Moncton and then to Fredricton I thought to myself ‘What the hell am I doing?’ It was cold in the mornings, it was raining, my legs were dying from doing the Cabot Trail through Nova Scotia. I just thought to myself ‘This is ridiculous’ but I just took on the mantra of giving everything you have for 24 hours and wait until the next day.”
The VATIC Foundation’s mission is to provide post-secondary scholarship funding for people suffering from PTSD and trauma-related mental illness.
“The biggest thing that happens when you’re depressed or going through something traumatic is you always push everything off. You don’t want to actually be around anyone. You don’t want to get out of bed, it’s easier just to hide,” Nadon explains.
“For myself, someone who’s gone through [PTSD] , the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that if I give myself for 24 hours and keep moving forward whether it’s one per cent a day or two kilometres, it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m moving forward, something positive will come from it.”
Nadon says the positivity and support he’s received from those he’s met along his journey thus far has been phenomenal.
Being back in Red Deer, he says, feels like home again.
“It’s an emotional thing, but it’s so uplifting. It’s a great way to try to finish off the last 20 per cent of your ride is to touch back in with what you consider home.”
He adds that the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April has shown him things are heading in the right direction when it comes to dealing with mental trauma.
“What it showed me is the community, being Canadians, has slowly started to embrace mental health over the last 10 years. When we see something happen, we band together and we come together. A lot of what we do with the Vatic Foundation is emphasizing community and recognize not just our first responders and veterans, but everyone who goes through something traumatic.”
The Vatic Foundation Golden Tour has so far raised $12,000. Those wishing to learn more or make a donation can visit vatic.org.