EDMONTON — Drenched in sweat, Trevor Peterson steps off his paddle board and throws himself into the waters of the North Saskatchewan River.
The 41-year-old former soldier has gone on more adventures in his life than most people. But Tuesday marked the start of an adventure like no other — cruising down the North Saskatchewan from Edmonton to Winnipeg on a paddle board to raise awareness for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In 2005, Peterson was stationed with the 408 Squadron in Edmonton where he worked with unmanned aircraft vehicles. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 and returned to Canada a year later a changed man.
Peterson was diagnosed with PTSD. Later it was determined he could no longer function within the military and was medically released in 2010.
Despite his attempts to gain employment, he was continuously in a downward spiral, left with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis.
“You know something is wrong ... but it just snowballs and gets worse. My first two years, there was a lot of thoughts of suicide. It was almost a daily thing,” said Peterson. “I can actually remember getting up, walking in to go to work, looking in the mirror and literally going, I made it through another night, now I have to go through this again.”
Peterson has since focused his energy solely on his rehabilitation. Unable to ski or work out in the gym due to a knee injury, he learned how to paddle board, which he found therapeutic.