“I was blown up twice in one day, and again two weeks later”

James joined the Army in 2008 as an Infantryman and was deployed to a remote base in Afghanistan in 2010. When he was blown up twice in one day James refused to be medevac’d away from his buddies, convincing his chain of command to let him recover from his injuries at the base. Two weeks later he was blown up again and this time he was medevac’d to Landstuhl Air Force Base in Germany. He received two Purple Hearts for injuries that included Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and wounds to his back. He has also struggled with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). During the next eighteen months in the Wounded Warrior Battalion (WWB) James had an average of eight appointments a day with doctors and therapists. After losing his combat pay and still unable to work, James and his wife had a difficult time meeting their bills and were referred to Defenders of Freedom (DOF) by his His Advocate for Wounded Warriors (AW2).

“I had no idea my relationship with Donna would blossom to a mother & son bond. I’ve not had a parent since I was a child. She treats me like her own. With the support of DOF, she saved my life. She helped me in a way the VA doesn’t. DOF being there and helping me financially as well as getting life changing treatment for PTS and TBI has improved my life immensely. It is the reason I am still here today with my wife and three children.”

“Now I want to help my brothers receive treatment like I was able to get because others cared. Donna told me that someone raised the funds to pay for my treatment by running a triathlon out of gratitude for my service. It was very humbling to know that. The treatment helped me and I want to help a brother in need. 22 Veterans kill themselves every day. We have to stop that. It is unacceptable that they come home from war only to feel unsupported and lose their fight to unseen injuries. That is why I have decided to ride my bike from Chicago, Illinois to Dallas, Texas. I want to raise awareness and funds so we can help others get the treatment they so desperately need.”