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Incredible Journey: West Point cadets paddle 2,000 miles for injured veterans with TBI

Friday, September 2, 2016 General News J E 4
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DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Sept. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Determined to raise awareness about veterans suicide, West Point Cadets Adrian Shanahan and James Callan set out in a canoe in June to paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River. With the optimistic words, "Gulf or bust!" scrawled across their oars, on good days they journeyed 50 miles. On difficult ones? The cadets described the highlights and lowlights on the crowdfunding web site Gofundme.

Supporters were urged to donate to The 22 Project, a Delray Beach, Fla charity dedicated to helping veterans recover from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Donations to 2320 Miles for our Fallen Heroes, reached nearly $12,000.

The 22 Project was launched by Erica and Alex Cruz in 2014 to provide greater access to healing hyperbaric oxygen treatments for U.S. service members. The name, The 22 Project, grew from a troubling statistic: An estimated 22 veterans were committing suicide each day, on average, in the years since 9/11, according to a 2012 report from the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services Suicide Prevention Program. (1)

So many soldiers who saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan experienced TBI that it has been called the "signature wound" of the conflicts. (2)  Risk of suicide goes hand-in-hand with TBI, studies show, especially with multiple concussions.(3)

About The 22 Project:

The 22 Project was born after the Cruzes, owners of Southeast Medical Imaging, were asked to donate imaging services to document the effects of hyperbaric TBI treatments for injured soldiers."We saw the veterans after their 40 treatments and we couldn't believe the difference. We just wondered how we could get this to more people," Erica Cruz says. The course of 40 treatments costs about $8,000. So far, the treatments have yet to become standard of care for TBI at the VA, despite growing evidence of the benefit. For more information, or to interview veterans with TBI and the cadets, visit http://www.support22project.org or email peter@support22project.org.

References: (1) http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/suicide-data-report-2012-final.pdf (2) http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/tbi.pdf (3) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/a-new-link-between-traumatic-brain-injury-and-suicide/

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/incredible-journey-west-point-cadets-paddle-2000-miles-for-injured-veterans-with-tbi-300321741.html

SOURCE The 22 Project

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