Monday, March 14, 2016

One Hour Of Your Time

According to a recently released study from Employment and Social Development Canada  there are over 2500 homeless Veterans in Canada.  The information in the report, released to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, comes from a database that tracks 60 emergency shelters across the country and added veterans as an identifiable category in 2014.

I have seen an increase in online posts of people arguing about who the Government should be providing assistance to and I thought instead of fighting about that let’s do something about it.

VETS Canada a registered Non-Profit which was founded by a Canadian Veteran Jim Lowther is a “Boots On The Ground” movement that to date has helped over 800 Veterans in just over six years.  

VETS Canada  has volunteers in every province in Canada and doing amazing things to help Veterans who are either homeless or in risk of being homeless.

As you’re reading this you may be thinking “How Can I Help” well a lot of people don’t have time to physically volunteer however there is a way you can with the new “One Hour Of My Time” challenge.

We are asking everyone to consider donating ONE HOUR of your salary to VETS Canada.

Once you have made a donation please copy & paste the following on your Facebook & Twitter pages.

I just donated one hour of my pay to VETS Canada #OneHour4VC

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Let's come together to help this military family

his morning I received a message from a Veteran who informed me of another battle Master Sergeant J. Russel is going through right now with his son Brock.  If you could take a moment to check out the link & share that would be appreciated.  This man saved his life in Afghanistan & now is fighting a battle with his son here at home.

If you want to help the link to donate is on this page but if you can't that's also okay and maybe share this post will put them in contact with the right people.

Here's the post on their "Go Fund Me" page :

Meet our youngest son Brock. He was diagnosed with a rare form of a Malignant Rhabdoid tumor called an Extrarenal Rhabdoid Sarcoma or also known as an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT) when he was 5 years old. There are usually about 30 cases of these types of tumors diagnosed every year.

His diagnosis came after 3 months of complaining of intense neck pain which began in August and September of 2014. His doctor finally ordered a CT scan on November 24th which revealed the quarter sized mass invading his spine at C1 and C2 with another involvement at C5. We were shocked and devastated and were medi flighted out to another hospital in Jacksonville, FL for their team to do a biopsy.

After the biopsy, the pathology results took two weeks to come back. During that time the neurosurgeon put Brock in a halo brace to help with his pain and to keep him stabilized to prevent him from becoming paralyzed. The pathology came back confirming our worst fears, and we were sent home to begin Chemo. After two cycles of intense Chemo therapy we went back to Jacksonville to harvest stem cells and do some follow up scans. The scans revealed that his tumor had grown and spread to other vertebrae. His tumor is not reacting to chemo and is growing rapidly. The doctors are reaching out for other opinions and trying to find a surgeon willing to operate on the delicate location. Any donations would be used for travel expenses as we may be traveling all over the country to Boston, Tennessee, or Pittsburgh to consult with experts.

Brock loves life. He keeps our spirits up and keeps us going. He has been through so much from chemo and daily shots to surgery and overcoming the fear of MRI machines. He has had to become so brave in just the last few months and still maintains a smile.

Please help us find the right doctor to help my son.

Feb 10th, 4:28pm Eastern Time : Update from the family : Thank you everyone for helping us to reach our $10,000 goal so quickly! Our family is so grateful for all the generosity, prayers and kind words. We have a feeling of relief and freedom to be able to travel anywhere we need to go to help Brock. Thank you for all the support and extra outside research that some of you have done. This campaign has done so much good for us. We were advised to increase the amount for our goal, but I just wanted everyone to know that any extra money will be donated to Childhood Cancer Research and the Ronald McDonald house.

 Brock's medical file and a copy of his scans have been sent out all across the country now to St Jude's, University of Pittsburgh, Dana Farber in Boston, University of South Florida, and Duke University. His team is waiting to hear back from these facilities and we will hopefully have a plan by the end of this week. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
If you are on Twitter please CLICK HERE & click the Retweet button

Monday, February 2, 2015

Can You Help Me Find the First Responders Who Saved My Life

After many years of putting it off and dealing with symptoms of PTSD from what happened to me outside Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa, Ontario I've decided to try and track down any of the first responders that saved my life in 1994.

My name is Dave Murphy and in March of 1994 I was attacked by three guys outside of the Bayshore Shopping Centre and stabbed multiple times. As this is now almost 21 years later many parts of that night are foggy but I'm hoping to find the EMS, Police or any first responders that were on site that night who helped saved my life.

I know two of the stab wounds on my leg if it had not been for a guy holding the muscle in my leg together I would be here typing this right now but I would be doing it from a wheelchair as if it wasn't for him I would have lost my leg.

I attempted to contact the "Personal Healh Information Office" and received the following reply :

Thank you for you inquiry, I would like to inform you that in 1994 Paramedic Service were provided via private firms. I would suggest the inquiring via the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care who are the governing body for all Paramedic Services in Ontario. May I suggest a starting point ,
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care - Personal Health Information Office

I attempted to contact them and received this reply :

We don’t provide the type of information you are looking for.
You could try contacting the local ambulance service that tended to you. I believe they keep records of this sort of thing, or might be able to point you in the right direction.

I did post about the ordeal for #BellLetsTalk day and did have a retired fire fighter contact me who's looking in to it for me as well but maybe someone who knows someone might see this post and be able to help me find some of these heroes who I wouldn't be here today if not for their actions that night.

On the retired fire fighter page one of his friends did post the following :

In a general sense perhaps Nepean police info was incorporated in the the Ottawa Regional Police (Which of course has since transitioned into Ottawa Police Service). The Ottawa Police Service would be my starting point. Now from my time in Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) I know some departments used CPIC more than others if the department didn't have a robust internal computer system but I don't know where to start to access the CPIC. I would guess that a federal access to information request for entries created by Nepean police on xx date near yy time re stabbing incident. On a general note based on my 42 years in federal service all information desired should be done through a formal request. Informal requests / emails can be ignored or fobbed off by civil servants. Formal requests have deadlines to meet and penalties for non compliance. I know this from making a few requests myself while pursuing a grievance. In 1994 the ambulance service was a single entity province wide with dispatch centres (CACC) run by contract entity and some ambulances were private contractors. However the Ministry Of Health (MOH) set and enforced the reporting and documentation criteria across the province and everything ended up with the MOH. The patient log was a huge form in very small print with what seemed like hundreds of check boxes. The same form was used province wide by all ambulances. Those records may not have ever been computerized but likely exist in microfiche. A formal request to MOH for info would help open these old files. A further idea, "follow the money" the ambulance ride and hospital care would have been charged to the patients OHIP number. An formal access request for date time against that OHIP number could be the beginning of getting more information.

You can read my "Battle With PTSD" post for #BellLetsTalk day as well.

I want to find anyone that responded that night and be able to say THANK YOU.  I am going to be in Ontario in April and would love it if I could meet them in person and bring closure to these events and move along with my new life & new baby.

If anyone has any information please feel free to EMAIL ME


Dave Murphy - Calgary, AB

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Personal Battle With PTSD - #BELLLetsTalk

I'm not a celebrity and I don't have millions of followers but today I'm hoping to make a difference in someone's life by sharing my personal story about P.T.S.D. I am a civilian, I have never served in the military but in 2007 I started an online effort to boost morale of Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

 Fast forward almost eight years later and here I am.  My name is Dave Murphy and I'm a proud new father of a baby girl born on Canada Day 2014.  I have a wife who is amazing and who puts up with all my quirks & habits.  I have a decent job that gets my by and I wouldn't trade my life for anything in the world.

A few years ago however that wasn't the case and I was in a very dark place.

In 1994 I was walking home from work in Ottawa, Ontario and was approached by three Somalians. They started yelling derogatory remarks at me which I ignored and kept walking. They continued to follow me and one of them came at me and at the time I thought he was throwing punches so I attempted to defend myself.

At that time two of his friends jumped in and I was being bombarded with what I thought were punches.

They ran off and I started to walk away shaken by what happened but thankful to not feel too much pain. I put my hand down on my leg and looked at my hand to see blood dripping off it. At that point I realized I had been stabbed and passed out on the sidewalk.

Thankfully an off duty fire fighter & EMS were driving by and jumped out to see if I was ok. I later found out I had been knifed thirteen times in total. The two worse were on my leg and in fact the fireman held the muscle together in my leg until an ambulance arrived. If he hadn't of done that I would have lost my leg and would be typing this from a wheel chair.

I had nine stab wounds on my back one of which punctured my lung and another missed by heart by half an inch.

I lay there in the parking lot of the Bayshore Shopping Centre mall not really knowing what was going on just remember seeing a crowd of people around me and one lady who held my hand the whole time. She came in the ambulance with us and later when I came to at the hospital I asked where the lady was that was in the ambulance and no one knew what I was talking about.

I'm not the most religious person but growing up with parents who were Salvation Army officers and being brought up going to church every Sunday when I look back on that night I know I had an angel in the back of that ambulance with me.

I was severely injured in this attack and thus was out of commission for about three months, I had to learn how to walk all over again as I couldn't bend my left leg. For about ten years I used this an excuse to be lazy and then I met MCpl Jody Mitic. A Sniper with the Canadian Forces who lost both his legs after stepping on an IED. Hearing that he was running 5k's on prosthetic legs inspired me to get going and it was an excuse no more.  I started walking more and more and thanks in large part to Jody's inspiration managed to lose 80lbs in 2014 and still working on losing more.

For a lot of years I also carried what happened to me around with me and never talked to anyone about it, just let it sit there. A few times when I was out in public and I’d see someone that looked to be of Somali decent I would start to have anxiety attacks and one time I even had to get off a Toronto subway train as a group of ten of them got on. This is not something I’m proud of but also something you can’t help when something like this happens to you.

Back in 2013 I don't remember the movie I was attempting to go to but a trailer came on for the movie Captain Phillips staring Tom Hanks.  This is a true story about Somalian pirates and when the trailer started I started having a major anxiety attack to the point where I could barely breathe.  I thought I was fine and didn't think I needed help for it but two years ago I finally had enough and it was through talking with a soldier about how he was going through the same situation when he would be driving down the road here in Canada and see an old beat up white pickup truck he would go another route or pull off the road.

I have been running various efforts to support soldiers since 2007 and have met a lot of our men and women who serve our country both online and in person. I have spent many nights on the phone until late hours of the morning just talking to them as they know they can talk to me in confidence and not worry about me posting names or any information publicly on here or Facebook.

I've received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, Knighted Into The Order Of St. George & a member of Avenue Magazines Top 40 Under 40 however there's times before I got help I would think to myself "I wonder if these people knew some of the thoughts I have had as a result of what happened to me if they'd take the awards back" When awaiting to be knighted into the Order I started to have major anxiety attacks. Being in a room surrounded with military high ups and the thought of having to be in front of so many people triggered panic attacks & anxiety for about the next six months after the event also.

I honestly wish I had of gone to talk to someone sooner but asking for help is a tough thing to do when you might feel asking for help is a sign of weakness but I’m glad I did.

When I moved in to my new building last year my wife was about seven months pregnant and couldn't help with any of the moving. Our new neighbor who is a Somali saw me doing all the work myself and came over to me to offer his assistance. A few years ago I’m not sure how I would have reacted but I’m very happy to see we've actually become good friends.

I still get the anxiety attacks but thanks to my sessions I take a deep breathe and tell myself "You're not in Ottawa, no one is going to hurt you and you're safe" and then they go away.

For a lot of years I tried to figure why I was spared that night in Ottawa? At first I thought it was to run efforts in support of our men & women in uniform or to try and make a difference in the world. It became VERY CLEAR why I wasn't killed by the events in Ottawa on July 1st, 2014 when me and my wife had our first child on Canada Day. Every time I look at her I'm thankful for my second chance in life.

I have been trying to find the EMS & Fire Fighter who saved my life in 1994 for the past two years and keep running in circles as in 1994 EMS were privately dispatched so all the emails I've attempted to send have come back with nothing.  If some how this makes it to someone that knows any of the first responders that saved my life that night please send me and email as I would like to fly there and thank them in person.  It might be a long shot but you never know

Today is #BellLetsTalk day so I’m sharing my story of my own battle with PTSD since 1994 in hopes that if it helps ONE person reach out for help then it’s served it’s purpose.

Read "The History of Thank A Soldier" HERE

Sunday, May 18, 2014

WARNING : Scammer posing as US Marine

Do you know the US Marine pictured in these photos?

Today we had contact with a lady in Florida who had been communicating with a man claiming to be a US Marine for the last six months.  It started out as friendly emails back and fourth but ended up with him asking to send him money transfers.

The person in these photos may in fact be a US Marine however someone is using his photos with cruel intentions.

If you know who he actually is please leave a comment on our Facebook Post or a comment on this blog.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tim Hortons - National Day of Honour Fail

The National Day Of Honour was on May 9th, 2014 to honour all Canadian men & women who served during the Afghanistan mission.   On May 6th Tim Hortons posted the following on their web page.

Their Twitter post was one of the most retweeted updates on the National Day Of Honour tag and not long after posting this on our "Thank A Soldier" Facebook page we began receiving messages & comments from military members (That were in full uniform) who went to their local Tim Hortons after the National Day Of Honour parades and were told that such a promo didn't exist and they would have to pay for their coffees.

The post on our Facebook page received 45 shares and was seen by 19,000 people.

Here's the update on their website.

Also the following was posted on their Twitter feed.

Numerous messages like this began to come in : 

I guess the "Memo" never made it to all Tim Hortons as we have reports now from over one hundred members of the Canadian Forces who went to Tim Horton's locations in eight different provinces and were told they never received any word of such a promotion from head office and were told they would have to pay for their coffees regardless of what day it was.

Almost 24 hours ago I posted the following on our @Thankasoldier Twitter feed but received no reply from @TimHortons on Twitter.

My question to Tim Horton's is that if you are going to post something on your web page & on your national Twitter feed wouldn't you make sure that every location in Canada is aware of it to avoid this kind of thing?

If you went to a Timmies on the National Day of Honour and were told the same thing feel free to leave a comment on this blog.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Losing Weight To Help Homeless & at risk Veterans

In September 2013 I started a weight-loss challenge and as I have tried and failed many times I wanted to come up with a way to stay motivated and not fail again.  "Lose For Food" was born.  I decided I was going to help out two charities with my mission "The Calgary Food Bank" & "V.E.T.S Canada"

I pledged that I would donate $1.00 for every pound I lost in the next 365 days as well as one pound of food for every pound that I lose to the Calgary Food Bank.

Here we are almost nine months later and I have lost 70lbs so far.

Yesterday while checking my email I noticed an email from Anytime Fitness which is the gym where I currently work out.  The email stated they were starting a contest called "Get 10,000 & Give 10,000"

They're giving away $10,000 to the most inspiring story and that person receives $10,000 to pay it forward to someone.

I instantly thought of the folks at V.E.T.S Canada to receive the $10k as I have worked very closely with them over the past few years and have seen first hand the great work they do with Veterans who need assistance.

What would I do with the $10,000 I receive if I win this?  The first thing I will do is buy my lbs in weight-loss in food and donate it to the Calgary Food Bank and top that donation up to $500 along side of it.

I also found out back in November that me and my lady are going to be having our first child in the first few weeks of July.  This money would help us out a lot with things we're going to need for the little one.

A lot of people have asked how I'm losing the weight well the answer is simple, I'm working my a$$ off.  I go to the gym five times a week now and do cardio every day and some circuit training every 2nd day.  I have cut out junk food, pop and take out food and replaced with healthy meals & drink a lot of water.

The original pledge I made to the Calgary Food Bank & VETS Canada helps me stay motivated.  On days when I don't feel like going to the gym I think about the people I'm going to be able to help if I keep working hard and that usually lights a fire under me.

The "Give 10k Get 10k" contest is for all of North America so it's going to take a lot to help us take this one home and be able to donate $10,000 to V.E.T.S Canada as well.

Please consider going to the link below and sending a vote my way & sharing the link to this page on your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ ect.

If you have never heard of our "Thank A Soldier" page and efforts feel free to check out "The History of Thank A Soldier" 

Thank You
Dave M. - Calgary, AB