Injured veterans to tackle 700km of the Yukon River to raise £100,000 in aid of military mental and physical health

A team of eight serving and veteran Grenadier Guards, five of whom have life changing injuries, will take to open canoes and traverse 700km of the Yukon River in Northwest Canada to raise funds for veterans’ mental charity Combat Stress, SSAFA, the armed forces charity, and The Grenadier Guards Colonel’s Fund. The team have currently raised over £65,000, and hope to reach their £100,000 target by completing this challenge.

The 700km journey, between Whitehorse and Dawson City, will follow the route of the original settlers and prospectors who first ventured into this wilderness in the early 19th Century. The team will embark on 8 June, and will be completely self-sufficient for seven days, as they navigate their way through the Yukon waterways for approximately 16 hours per day, camping overnight on the shore.

With five of the team having life changing psychological and physical injuries, including amputations and PTSD, their aim is to prove that they are not defined by any disability or injury, and that – with the right support – they can achieve great things.

The greatest dangers will come from the Yukon itself, which can vary from 22km to just 300m in width, with currents anywhere between 6 to 14mph. False channels, tributaries, rocks and hidden obstacles are rife. When they set up camp, the team will have to contend with bears, elk and wolves.

Robert Marsh, Director of Fundraising at Combat Stress, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to the team for taking on such a gruelling endurance challenge. To complete 700km of such a harsh and unforgiving environment is an incredible feat, and I am confident that their efforts will demonstrate to others with physical and psychological injuries, just what is possible with the right support.

“The money raised will help us to continue providing our specialist support to veterans with complex mental health problems.”

Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity said:

“I was delighted to hear that Jon, Guy, Garth, Paul, Dougie, Alex, Ben and Tony have embarked on such a fascinating and demanding challenge in Northwest Canada. SSAFA will be following the event closely and can’t wait to hear about the adventure they’re beginning.

“We are grateful that the team chose to include SSAFA in its fundraising efforts and we will ensure the money raised goes towards those who need it most.”

To support the team and find out more about their journey visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/yukon-700

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