Wanda Nystoruk and her trusting companion 10-year-old Mazie are shown with the Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run medallion for completing the run. Nystoruk received the medallion in the mail on International Dog Day which she says was more than appropriate as the run was to support fundraising to provide service dogs for people suffering with PTSD. (Nystoruk submitted photo).

Wanda Nystoruk and her trusting companion 10-year-old Mazie are shown with the Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run medallion for completing the run. Nystoruk received the medallion in the mail on International Dog Day which she says was more than appropriate as the run was to support fundraising to provide service dogs for people suffering with PTSD. (Nystoruk submitted photo).

Barriere woman completes 5K Warrior Run in support of those suffering from PTSD

Barriere resident Wanda Nystoruk tells that last month Mental Health Day was recognized on October 10 to raise awareness of those who are struggling. Nystoruk says bringing awareness regarding mental health and how we can help got her thinking about Remembrance Day happening which also impacts many people in different ways.

“I thought this might be a good time to talk about recognizing the worsening mental health issues in the world and how people are reaching out to help others,” said Nystoruk.

“One of these programs involves dogs! Yes, dogs are amazing for helping folks to stabilize their emotions and control their own environment. Dogs can teach so much and ask for nothing in return except sharing their lives with us.”

She tells that after surviving a serious car accident a number of years ago, which left her with numerous life altering injuries she was often despondent about her physical limitations and what her future looked like.

“Then I saw a poster for ‘Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run’,” said Nystoruk, “That poster got me out running to help their cause. Honestly, I am quite proud of it.”

Since her car accident it has been a struggle to get to a point where she is now able to jog, speed walk, and embrace a 5K Warrior Run.

“Completing 5K is an amazing journey for me, and I appreciate it every day,” said Nystoruk, “However, now I am hoping that if I share this information it could help others as it did me. There is a lot of people having a really hard time with this new COVID-19 world we live in – suffering from depression and mental health issues. Our First Responders are having to deal with a lot more than they ever expected. Families are missing family members and friends, there is a severe lack of social gatherings, and worst of all people are unable to hug! This all takes a real toll on folks.”

Nystoruk comments that the people who were struggling with mental health issues before, could be having an even more difficult time now.

“We all need to reach out to others, check on family, and watch out for friends and neighbor’s,” she said.

Nystoruk says why she joined the Facebook group Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run, “I admire and share their belief that a service dog can provide healing companionship and life-altering benefits to an individual suffering from PTSD.”

She notes that the Six Support Dogs goal is to raise funds so they can place trained PTSD service dogs with veterans and First Responders at no cost (to help them heal from the psychological stress they are experiencing due to war or duty) through the compassion and healing power of a loyal four-legged companion.

“They advertised a fundraiser that interested me ,” said Nystoruk, “I wanted to help, so I registered for the 5KM Virtual Warrior Run held on June 20 of this year.”

She tells the Six Support Dogs group told her, “Whether you run on a treadmill, jog around a neighborhood, or walk around the block, the Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run is the perfect way to support Veterans and First Responders suffering from PTSD, and all the while you can maintain social distancing. Our mission is to help these men and women regain their lives through the healing power of dogs.”

“I have friends who are Veterans, firefighters, 911 operators, nurses, paramedics, First Responders and other friends who have dealt with much trauma,” said Nystoruk, “So when Six Support Dogs asked me, “who will you run for”, I said it was for them all, but specifically for my friend ‘R’. He’s been through a lot, yet he still finds time to be there for others.”

She says, “It was such a great feeling doing this ‘run’, and knowing it’s for a good cause. I did my run around our local trails by the river, and I kept going non-stop knowing it’s helping someone get a dog they really need.”

Nystoruk recorded the distance on her Runtastic, and then sent in the time.

Amazingly, on International Dog Day, she received confirmation in the mail of her completion of the Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run which included a medal for her efforts.

“I am a dog person,” says Nystoruk, as she cuddles up to one of her two blue heeler dogs. “I’ve had my Maezi for 10 years now and I don’t know what I would do without her, she’s my constant shadow, looks out for me and protects me”

Nystoruk concluded by saying, “A lot of charities who rely on donations are struggling right now with a drop in funds. So if you can support something close to your heart – then go ahead and volunteer your time, even if just for a short time – it will make a difference. Let’s all try a little harder to be kind, and let’s be careful out there.”

Got Your Six Support Dogs Virtual 5K Warrior Run can be found on FACEBOOK at: https://www.facebook.com/gotyoursixptsdsupportdogs

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