A former paramedic is flipping a 400-pound tractor tire through waist-deep snow up a mountain while shackled in 60 pounds of steel chains for a cause that’s very close to his heart.
Forty-five-year-old Terrance Kosikar and a team of his two friends from Australia and Romania have been on their arduous journey to 7th Heaven Summit on Blackcomb Mountain for the last five days and have at least another 1,000 feet left to go.
Kosikar was one of the first responders who tried to revive Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a horrific accident the day before the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Since then, Kosikar has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ending up with suicidal thoughts and an addiction problem. In the five years after the accident, he lost his job, family and home.
Kosikar has now turned his life around and is hoping to help other first responders suffering from PTSD.
“We need the help immediately,” said Kosikar. “We should not have to prove our PTSD happened at work. We are first repsonders and we take the trauma home with us daily. It affects not only us, but our families and our friends. It is unacceptable and our provincial government needs to make changes.”
After Kosikar and his team reach the summit, they will have to flip the same tire for another 1,150 kilometres around B.C. to raise awareness about the campaign.
By trying to get as “HIGH” as possible … up Cloud 9, on Whistler Blackcomb ,with our tractor tire to raise awareness to Post Traumatic Stress, Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery.
Day 1 – Flipped 1.7 kms – 728 Vertical meters
Our goal also was to bring more public awareness to Bill M203, “Presumption of Illness”, and ask the public we met along our journey to help us flip our tire, and sign our petition that would hopefully persuade our Provincial Government to pass this bill into Legislation.
Bill M203 -2016 Workers Compensation Amendment Act –
This Act amends the Workers Compensation Act in order to provide support and care for British Columbia’s first responders. The Act creates a presumptive clause for first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In recognition of the crucial role paramedics, firefighters, police officers, and others play in ensuring the health and safety of British Columbian’s, this Act guarantees that they will receive timely support and treatment when they are suffering from exposure to traumatic events.
Raising awareness to any cause is a extremely difficult task.
Especially when it involves Emergency Service Providers and their families on an international level, adding to it, the fact that in Canada alone over the past 2 years, 179 First Responders have died by suicide.
YOU are driving down the road, holding your wife’s hand, as the sound of your children’s giggles in the backseat warm your thoughts, when out of nowhere, S M A S H – you get hit by a truck who just ran a red light.
I don’t need to paint this picture, you see what I see, the smell of gasoline lingers in the air, your hardly conscious, you look to the backseat, there isn’t one, the sound of flames crackle in the background as you can barely reach for your cell phone to call 911.
“Dispatch 911, what is your emergency?”
You explain the tragically gruesome scene to the dispatch agent.
Response from the Agent –
“Sorry but we can’t respond to your emergency right now, but if you go visit our website, and take the next 3 months time to simply jump through all our bullshit hoops, then please get signed off by 3 different doctors, and check yourself into a treatment center, but before you do that, you will also need to submit your last 15 years of medical records, then if you do have any money left, we will need you to just answer 750 of our scientifically proven to make sense to somebody questionnaire”.
If you haven’t taken your own life by that point from watching your family suffer more and more each day, we will be sure to give you a few more meds to numb the pain and your suicidal thoughts, umm wait sir, before you hang up – we will need to confirm your mailing address so we can be sure to mail your very first denial with 37 more pages of hoops to jump through before you begin the appeal process.
Thank you for calling Worksafe BC, we sincerly hope all works out for you, and if you do live long enough to make your way through all the smoke and mirrors, not to worry, we do have 3 more departments on stand by that make bigger salaries than you would in 20 years of your life to be sure you DO NOT PASS GO.
Our current system, through WorkSafe BC, is NOT DESIGNED TO HELP in any way shape or form.
THIS IS THE EXACT PROCESS THAT 1000’s of our Canadian Emergency Service Providers currently are dealing with on a daily basis when they finally do reach out for help after they have suffered in silence long enough after many years of responding to our emergencies.
Your sit and question yourself as you thought you called 911 to get help, but all seems like a total blurr now, cause all of what you just heard is absolute “HOGWASH BULLSHIT”, and is so absolutely unbelievable, you begin to feel you’re in some sort of time warp on another planet.
I did not look up these facts on the internet, I have personally lived through this procedure, and answer my phone 24 hours a day from many Police Officers, Paramedics, Corrections Officers, Firefighters, Nurses, and Dispatch 911 Operators across Canada, who some are now on their 3rd – 9th year suffering minute by minute as they try and prove they deserve the help the minute they ask for it, just as we get the help the minute we call 911.
IT’S TIME TO MAKE THE CHANGES – NOW – WITH ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSES – P E R I O D.
It breaks my heart at least 3 times a day over this last year and a half with the amount of tears shed, the amount of families I’ve listened to that are no longer. The amount of sadness in the voices I hear. All they did was their job, and now to be treated like criminals in a court of law, trying to prove their PTSD is work related.
People ask me, “Hey Terrance, why in the hell are you flipping that tractor tire up the side of a glacier, waist deep in snow, in -10 degree weather?
The answer is as simple as this, we can raise awareness to PTSD all we want, but how about some cold hard facts about our system which has yet to educate us properly on the signs and symptoms of PTS or give immediate treatment for those who suffer with them?
After many years of peeking our the blinds, the loss of my family, friends and careers, the amount of years I’ve spent contemplating suicide, the amount of ridiculous hoops I’ve jumped through, how many times I’ve had a rifle down my throat or side of my head, the amount of tears shed, and doors closed is my face, or knives in my back.
I will climb to the top of every mountain around the world for the rest of my life until one day we can help make changes so NO OTHER Emergency Service Provider or their family will ever have to endure that sort of pain and suffering for another minute.
ITS NOT WEAK TO SPEAK … so I just did.
My deepest, most sincere apologizes that this post is not full of unicorns, rainbows, and pink balloons, but there is just no way I can sit here and candy coat a very serious topic like Post Traumatic Stress, and the facts that our current Provincial Government / Workers Compensation Act is not helping our Emergency Service Providers that suffer from a Post Traumatic Stress Injury the minute they ask for it.
Please, take a minute to sign our petition, and share it with a friend, co worker, instagram it, tweet it, whatever it takes – NO MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH.
20 minutes after Nodar Kumaritashvili was pronounced at the Poly Clinic, some fancy suited guy from the Vancouver Olympic Committee comes walking into the room, looks at us, and all he says was, “WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT THIS TO NOBODY”.
“Not our friends, not our family, not our co- workers, not the media – NOBODY”.
I sat slumped in my chair, gazing down at the dried blood that had soaked into my boots, the sound of the heart monitor still echoing through mind, my heart, my every breath seemed to just beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
You ask yourself, where are my tears?
Why am I not feeling the loss of this young kids life, who I had just spent, what seemed like hours, crushing his ribs as I pushed on his heart harder and harder with each 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.
No words needed, as he stares at me as if to send that last telepathic message to his family, his girlfriend, his brother, the bone chilling screams of his coaches and trainers as they arrived on scene that day, will certainly haunt me till the day we meet again.
You grit your teeth, but not too hard, cause this isn’t really happening, this is just one of those dreams you will wake up from any minute, no tears, no talking, emotionless, as your look down ashamed of yourself, fighting the mind from trying to convince you that this was your fault.
Hours later, I stood alongside 3 other medics. As we boarded the gondola, some drunk Australian kid came stumbling into my peripheral vision and without thought, I turned around and knocked him out cold with 2 quick punches to the head.
3 of his buddies came running to his rescue. I reacted immediately in defense mode as if they were coming to attack me, I grabbed the one kid by the back of the head and just started feeding him shots to the body with a few upper cuts over and over again.
Totally possessed by some sort of higher power, There was absolutely no thought or care to anything I was doing as I tried dragging this kid into our gondola, as I yelled at him “I’ll FKING KILL YOU” little MFKer (punch punch punch).
I had lost my mind, and had absolutely no reason whatsoever to smash these 2 totally innocent people like that.
The doors closed and everything went very quiet, total silence as we rolled over the first tower towards the village.
I’ll never forget the feeling of total confusion as I stood staring down onto the lights in the village. The medics were all saying something to me , but it seemed like they were speaking different languages, and again, that dream feeling , where you sit there and know you are dreaming , and this is that moment where you wake up in cold sweat , gasping for a breath, panicked as you try to explain to your lover this crazy nightmare.
(not a dream this actually happened) – chapter 4 – Let the Games begin
I DIDN’T SLEEP OR DREAM AGAIN … FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS.
I get asked all the time, “ Hey Terrance, why in the hell do you flip that big ol stupid tractor tire mile after mile, across, up and over mountains , through lakes and rivers?
The answer is simple,
To raise awareness to Post Traumatic Stress, and all the signs and symptoms that go with, so we can begin to understand and prevent anymore of our Canadian First Responders from dying by suicide, and leaving their careers, friends and families behind wondering …why?
ITS TIME TO MAKE SOME CHANGES – weather our current BC Provincial Government likes it or not.
This is totally unacceptable, especially when these are the men and women who risk their lives to save ours on a daily basis.
They respond to our emergencies, it’s time we respond to theirs.
Our Mental Health Facilities, Programs, and Insurance companies are broken and failing us beyond belief. Sure they all look good on paper, but how many people do you know who have been through the smoke and mirror, BS, hogwash system and come out on the other end and actually went back to work as healthy as they started?
You will not find this person, they do NOT exist, and as we speak now, over the last 2 years there are 179 Police, Fireman, Paramedics, Corrections Officers, Dispatch 911 operators, nurses, and soldiers 6 feet deep now.
These are the stats on the ones who have come forward over these last 2 years, that had been battling for years to get the help they deserve after being diagnosed with PTSD.
The numbers on the suicide rates within our First Responders who have not been diagnosed im sure are 10 times as staggering. Believe me, I’ve been there, and currently speak to many across our entire country who are all very close to just throwing in the towel.
Would you blame them for feeling this way. after years of trusting your current government, and assuming you risk your life for people who would take care of you and educate you and make sure your safe, and your family is taken care of if anything was to ever go sideways, life.
Please take a minute to go to our website and help by signing our petition, that I will personally hand deliver to NDP, MLA Shane Simpson next week who in turn will present this Bill M 203 – into Legislature.
During the planning of this years PTS – Mental Health – Addiction – Recovery Awareness Tour – I sat and thought to myself, if it were up to me, as to how I wanted to kickoff our month long tour, where could I see myself on opening day ?
I picked up the phone, and made a few quik calls from our office in Germany to my brothers – not only were they super stoked to help kick off our ” ITS NOT WEAK TO SPEAK tour, but KJ brought his girlfriend and daughter Nika –
WE RIDE FOR PTSD – the worlds first Mental Health Awareness Snowmobile Ride – be sure , this is now going to be an annual event