“It is an opportunity to see great spirits compete, but also to share our stories of service to this country,” says Major Simon Mailloux regarding the Invictus Games 2017 in Toronto to be held from September 23 to 30.
The Team Canada co-captain from Quebec City should know, as this will be his second games. “I had a great first experience at the games in Orlando, Florida in 2016 and can’t stop thinking how big these Games will be in Toronto,” adds Simon. “I hope the Invictus Games will inspire some other injured individuals to come out and reach for help. To feel like they can better themselves.”
Simon’s story of his service to Canada includes surviving an explosion in Afghanistan. “I lost my left leg in 2007 when an improvised explosive device exploded. It blew up my light armoured vehicle and killed two of my soldiers.” But that is only the beginning of his story.
Simon pushed himself through his rehabilitation in order to return to service, where he eventually redeployed on tour to Afghanistan, becoming the first Canadian military amputee to deploy to a war zone. In between his rehabilitation and his return to Afghanistan, Simon was appointed aide de camp to the Governor General of Canada. It was a position that presented new and different opportunities, like organizing and conducting a state visit to Haiti and conducting a visit by the Governor General to Canada’s North, which included stops in many communities that are only reachable by airplane.
Throughout his rehabilitation and to this day, the Royal 22e Régiment officer keeps close ties with Soldier On, the Canadian Armed Forces’ program that supports serving military members and veterans to overcome their physical or mental health illness or injury through physical activity and sport. The program is currently managing Team Canada’s participation at the Invictus Games in Toronto.
“The Soldier On program was instrumental in my rehabilitation, not only by opening up training opportunities that introduced me to adapted sports, but also by allowing me to take part in high-calibre athletic competitions that changed my outlook on my injury and my abilities. I learned to cycle, run, precision shoot while standing, and take part in relay races, all over again,” Simon explains.
To date, Soldier On has helped more than 3200 ill or injured military members return to active lives.
For more information about Team Canada at the Invictus Games – Toronto 2017.