The Repat Foundation – The Road Home is proud to coordinate our own Veterans Health and Wellbeing Program, which through regular art programs provides a healing and safe environment for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress on their road home to recovery. Clinical Services Coordinator of Ambulatory Services at the Repatriation General Hospital Post-Traumatic Stress Unit, Cathie Dal Bello sees firsthand how powerful these art classes can be. read more
“What the veterans share with me is mind-blowing, their willingness to accept me is something very special.”
Newly appointed Ambassador for The Road Home and elite cyclist Caitlin Ward shares a special bond with returned veterans participating in our Wellbeing Program and is dedicated to helping those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
Her late grandfather served in World War II, as did her great uncle who was a navigator in the war, but Caitlin says he spoke very little of his experience.
“To know I have a connection to the war through my grandfather and great uncle really blew me away and makes me so passionate about this cause. Helping the veterans in the Wellbeing Program is my way of showing I care and giving back to the community,” Caitlin said.
With a passion for cycling, at the young age of 16 in 2010, Caitlin set herself a goal to reach the Rio Olympic Games. She was all on track and ready to go before she suffered critical setbacks, including two serious injuries. Her dream was taken away from her in an instant. Being mentally and physically pushed to her limits, Caitlin knows all too well what it’s like to lose something she had been working so hard towards.
“I was completely devastated and broken. I put my whole life into cycling and sacrificed everything and it was taken from me. Something I absolutely loved came crashing down on me and where I thought I was going with my life changed in a split second,” Caitlin explained.
It’s with this knowledge and experience that Caitlin can connect to veterans in need. It was also a chance encounter that Caitlin was introduced to our Wellbeing Program, and she now believes the veterans have helped her as much as she began helping them.
“There are a lot of things in the veteran and athlete world that are very similar and everyone can learn from it. I believe we can help each other and draw from our personal experiences which are very different but have the same themes like sacrifice, dedication and being mentally and physically challenged,” Caitlin said.
With a determined attitude, Caitlin has come back from her injuries and is determined to help veterans get back into life from their injuries of service.
“I am passionate about encouraging the group to try different types of sport and get themselves out of their comfort zones, which I believe gives them motivation to get out there and start living again,” Caitlin said.
“My life in cycling hasn’t been smooth as I would have wanted and being involved in this program is a way of helping my life and my challenges. Everyone part of the Wellbeing Program have had to face extreme hardships and challenges throughout their lives as soldiers and I feel that with our experiences, we have a strong connection and can help and lean on each other in tougher times,” Caitlin explained.
“I’m so thankful to be an Ambassador for The Road Home and support the Wellbeing Program. I feel the personal benefit I have gained has been extraordinary and it’s such a great feeling that I can give back and help those who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of our own lives.”
Harbouring a 15-year long connection with The Repat Foundation, Veteran Russell Pick is honoured to be an Artist in Residence volunteer in Ward 17 of the Repatriation General Hospital as part of the Veterans Health and Wellbeing program. Recently Russell has been working tirelessly on designing a mural to honour Australian Defence Force personnel over the ages, and was mounted on the garden fence of Ward 17 in September. read more
An Australian first research project describing the mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s ambulance workforce has been enabled thanks to support from The Repat Foundation – The Road Home. read more
Having a strong family connection to the armed services, Art Therapist Christine Schloithe knows how Post-Traumatic Stress can affect veterans both young and old and the important role art can play in healing. It’s for this reason she began volunteering her time to support artist Kaz Pedersen with weekly art classes held for patients of Ward 17 at the Repatriation General Hospital. read more
The Repat Foundation – The Road Home is proud to announce the successful recipients of the 2017 Research Grant Round for projects into the health and wellbeing of veterans, emergency service personnel and their families. read more