Soldiers heading to South Pole with Prince Harry to raise money for charity
Published Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:14AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 14, 2013 11:24PM EST
Two wounded Canadian soldiers are ready to set off on a thrilling expedition to Antarctica as they join soldiers from the U.S. and Commonwealth on a race to the South Pole.
Cpl. Alexandre Beaudin D'Anjou and Master Cpl. Chris Downey have been busy training for the 335 kilometre, 16-day trek with members of Team Commonwealth since March.
The two Canadians join 19 servicemen and women as they race to the South Pole to raise money for injured soldiers.
The expedition, which will also include Prince Harry and actor Alexander Skarsgard, promises to be a gruelling task as Antarctica is known as the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth, with temperatures nearing -50 degrees Celsius.
Beaudin D'Anjou told CTV’s Ben O'Hara-Byrne that he is eager to set-off on the exciting trek.
“We feel pretty excited. It’s a little bit unreal to think in a couple of days we’ll be in the South Pole,” he said.
Beaudin D'Anjou was injured in Afghanistan in 2009 after he was thrown into the air by an IED. He sustained multiple injuries including a broken nose, a concussion and a back injury that resulted in paraesthesia in his left leg.
He told the Walking with the Wounded organization that being chosen to participate in the international race shows how far he has come in his recovery.
“I was extremely pleased to learn that I had been chosen for the next stage of the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge. It means a lot for me to take the next step. The doctors were discouraging when I was repatriated after my injury and the first year was very difficult,” Beaudin D'Anjou told the organization.
Beaudin D'Anjou is joined by fellow Canadian Master Cpl. Chris Downey, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Downey was wounded in Afghanistan in 2010 after an IED detonated near him while on foot patrol. Downey lost his right eye and suffered serious wounds and lacerations to his face and body.
The explosion also killed one of his best friends, Petty Officer Second Class Douglas Craig Blake. Downey says he is participating in the race as a tribute to his close friend and fellow soldier.
“This is a great opportunity for him and me to complete one last mission together and I’ll finally be able to say goodbye at the South Pole,” Downey said.
The race, which is organized by U.K. charity Walking with the Wounded, was created to help injured and sick soldiers find careers outside of the military and raise awareness of the challenges they face.
Team Commonwealth is set to depart for Cape Town on Sunday and hopes to reach the South Pole on Dec. 17.
Individuals can donate and track Team Commonwealth’s progress by visiting the Walking with the Wounded website.
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