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."

What Veterans for Wildlife means for me!

"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 in, 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 an amazing cause but it would change my life. It showed me that I can 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 big wide world again which is when I decided I would go for it and click the button to apply for veterans for wildlife, and wow I am just so glad I decided to have the confidence to apply that day because it has led to me becoming one of the 6 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."

Jennifer Yarwood