Phil Badanai started his charity, “Dogs 4 PTSD” (formerly Paws Fur PTSD Veterans), with the initial goal of raising $100,000 only to realize that he could start making a difference for much less. Having competed in the 2017 Invictus Games, the Barrie resident saw teammate Bruce Matthews secure a service dog for just over $5,000 after working to raise funds for a decade.
“(Matthews) paid for his service dog after 10 years of trying with just over $5,000 and in just over six weeks, Bruce got his service dog “Gunner” on Nov. 28, 2017,” says Badanai. It was then that he realized he didn’t need to wait to make a difference in someone’s life and decided instead to put his focus on helping one veteran. That someone is a fellow teammate who “is in desperate need of a service dog” and was quoted $47,000 when contacting a private company to get one.
“She was figuring that this would have to be paid for by her pension,” said Badanai. “I cannot sit back and watch someone in need use her medical pension on this. I have made an offer to fund her service dog for her.”
So far, Badanai has raised almost $7,000 from a comedy night fundraiser and various speaking engagements. Some of the organizations who have contributed to his fund are Ontario Provincial Police, the Markham Rotary Club, and the 2919 Grey and Simcoe Foresters Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps.
Badanai served 16 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, and it was during a 1994 United Nations peacekeeping mission, in Croatia, that he was shot twice. Since then, he has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and despite having a stroke in 2017, he went on to compete and bear a flag at the games later that year. He now makes it his mission to share his strength and inspiration with his peers by helping them in the best way he knows how.
For information, visit: www.gofundme.com/Paws-Fur-PTSD-Veterans
(Phil Badanai posing with a furry little friend in an image posted on his Facebook page, Feb. 28, 2017)