'They are not alone': Fundraiser to support first responders with PTSD
Four years ago, Terrance Kosikar was standing on the edge of the Lions Gate Bridge.
The former first responder had spent a decade saving other people's lives, but he was ready to take his own at that moment.
"You come up with these dark, dark thoughts, visions. You become very frightened, fearful and depressed. You want to cry but you can't cry. You want to scream, but nothing comes out," Kosikar said.
He said he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after responding to a fatal incident on the opening day of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games in Whistler.
Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a high-profile crash during a training run at the games.
"I was the first responder to that accident. I worked as a first responder for almost 10 years and never once was I trained on how to deal with the emotional impact after we can't save our patient's life," Kosikar said.
Nowadays, he tries to save lives in other ways, by helping others deal with the challenges of PTSD.
On Saturday, he held a fundraising event for first responders in Kumaritashvili's memory.
"Our main goal is to inspire hope to the people out there that they are not alone, to connect everybody together and enjoy a beautiful day at Stanley Park."
Kosikar now runs My Way Camp, a wilderness therapy program for veterans, first responders and their spouses.
The money raised Saturday will help to support the program and send two first responders and their family members to the camp for seven days.
He is also advocating for systemic change to provide more support for those on the front lines.
"The key is we need to start giving the people – make it an industry standard for all our first responders -- the tools to help manage our feelings."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Jazz Sanghera