Invictus Profile: MCpl (Retd) Natacha Dupuis
As focused as she is on her recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), Master Corporal (Retired) Natacha Dupuis can still be swayed by a little bit of star power.
“I loved doing push-ups with our Prime Minister,” she says of Justin Trudeau, who engaged in a little competitive social media stunt at the Invictus Games 2017 announcement in Toronto last year. Natacha’s first Invictus Games were in 2016 in Orlando, Florida where she earned two golds and a bronze in track and field and powerlifting.
Most of time however, Natacha works hard on her recovery and she has been supported by the Canadian Armed Forces’ program Soldier On and her participation in the Invictus Games. Soldier On is managing the 90-athlete-strong Team Canada that is heading to the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 this September 23 to 30.
“Sport has play a major role in my recovery. It’s how I overcome most of my symptoms. It’s also how I have redefined myself since leaving the Canadian Army. I credit the Soldier On program in getting me out of the black hole I was stuck in. By engaging in each of their activities, I became inspired by the other participants. They were staying positive despite their illnesses or injuries. Some were even using their injuries to help others,” Natacha says, a native of Longueuil, Quebec.
Natacha can link her PTSI to a single moment during her deployment to Afghanistan.
“On March 20, 2009, the vehicle behind mine hit an Improvised Explosive Device. The impact killed two of my brothers-in-arms and injured three others. My crew and I were the first-responders on the scene and it left me with mental scars to this day.”
The combination of a lot sweat and effort, mixed with the support of teammates and coaches, and sprinkled with moments spent chatting with the likes of the Canadian Prime Minister and Prince Harry, patron of Invictus Games, were so successful that Natacha will share it with her current Team Canada members.
“Last year’s Invictus Games were a life-changing experience. It helped me to develop resiliency and to grow as both a person and an athlete. I took control over my life. With the upcoming Invictus Games in Toronto I hope to further my recovery as well as support my teammates to reach their personal goals,” adds Natacha.
Since its inception in 2007, Soldier On has dispersed more than $5 million helping more than 2,500 ill and injured members to obtain sporting or recreational equipment and to gain access to training and instructors. The program supports their participation in a wide range of structured activities from alpine skiing to fishing to adventure expeditions. The program also sent teams to the London (2014) and Orlando (2016) Invictus Games.
For more information, visit the Team Canada at the Invictus Games – Toronto 2017 website.
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