As the first Footprints of Hope programme begins, we would like to introduce you to the second participant - Jeniffer Yarwood.

I joined the British army in 2003, and after a short stint as a chef, I eventually got my dream job of working with animals and being a dog handler. I took part in operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

After sustaining injuries during operations, I developed PTSD and despite battling to keep my career. I was medically discharged in 2017.

I joined up when I was 17, so it’s all I have ever known. And when I was discharged I didn’t know which direction to turn to. It was a dark alley to walk down, then when I learnt there was a possibility I could be part of the Invictus Games I could not believe how lucky I was that I would potentially have the opportunity to be part of something which not only is a fantastic cause but it would change my life. It showed me that I could be that valued member of the team again and I can stand there in front of many people and believe in myself that I am strong and I can do it.

This led to the confidence to look past my depression and mental and physical health problems and start getting out in the world again. Which is when I decided I would go for it and click the button to apply for Veterans for Wildlife, and I am just so glad that I decided to have the confidence to apply that day. It has led to me becoming one of the five members of the team selected to go somewhere I have dreamed of going since I was a child watching VCR tapes of David Attenborough in Africa.

Animals are my true safe place it’s hard to describe but when I am around them it’s like everything melts away so to be part of such an amazing project to do with animals and conservation is just perfect for me. Just finding out I am going has improved my mental health already. The PTSD therapy we will receive pre, during and post-deployment is going to be amazing and that teamed up with the animal element is just hard to put into words what it means to me.