To conquer what seems unconquerable: Military Police Sergeant Nicole Laidlaw takes on injury, PTSD

Sgt Nicole Laidlaw in expedition gear tows her three, young, smiling children in a sled across a snowy trail in a forest.
Sergeant Nicole Laidlaw trains for her 100-km trek in Baffin Island by towing her kids around the neighbourhood. Photo: Cameron Laidlaw

Tags: |

By Asim Zaidan, Junior Communications Officer – Canadian Forces Military Police

Do you ever wonder what sleeping in -40C feels like? Once Military Police Sergeant Nicole Laidlaw completes her 100-km trek through the Akshayuk Pass in Nunavut in April 2019, she can tell us all about it.

As part of her campaign in recovery, Sgt Laidlaw will embark on an expedition in Baffin Island to conquer what may seem unconquerable: harsh Arctic exteriors, and ultimately, her injuries that lay within.

As part of its commitment to supporting Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, True Patriot Love (TPL) offers a unique program for service members recovering from injury to join civilian business leaders in challenging expeditions around the world. This year’s expedition will feature 19 women, four of whom are service members recovering from injury.

Sgt Laidlaw sustained two physical injuries while on duty, and has witnessed the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from those closest to her: her father, a military medic of 38 years, and her husband, a fellow MP Officer. TPL accepted her application, and though they sponsor military personnel for the expedition, Sgt Laidlaw raised $2,500 for the foundation and is now aiming to reach $5,000.

“Goal setting,” Sgt Laidlaw responded when asked what advice she had for members in recovery. “I want stuff to be fixed fast. And I understand that now, whether physical or mental, it takes time to recover.”

And that time has been duly spent training under the toughest coaches you will ever meet – Sgt Laidlaw’s children as seen in the photo above. Several times a week, these bundles of fury have Sgt Laidlaw tow them around the neighbourhood in a sled to simulate the 65 pounds of weight she will be carrying – even up hills so that they may slide it down for what they deem is necessary training and definitely not the best time of their lives.

“They love it, they just like to sit there, they like to drag their body off to make it harder for me,” said Sgt Laidlaw.

In a plot twist of sorts, Sgt Laidlaw’s training for the expedition took on newer meaning when her eldest daughter of nine years said, “that’s only something daddy can do.”

Suddenly, Sgt Laidlaw became more than a service member recovering from injury, but a living example for a young girl in the prime of shaping her worldview. It was an opportunity to show her that through hard work and tough training, achieving her goals are as much a woman’s right as they are a man’s.

Sgt Laidlaw said to her, “Look, you’ve seen mommy hurt, and mommy has overcome that, and now she’s going to do something incredible and physically demanding with another group of women.”

Sgt Laidlaw’s expedition in Baffin Island starts on April 2. To contribute to her fundraiser, visit her webpage on True Patriot Love.

Date modified: