Who Are You – Tobey Kai


Using music as rehabilitation, a talented Calgary musician overcomes a Traumatic Brain Injury, and is an inspiration for others.

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Before last year my social media experience was limited to Facebook, but that changed last year when I decided that the time had come for me to do something different with my life. Having a larger presence on social media would go a long way towards accomplishing the things that I wanted to do, so I now have accounts across several platforms.

An Instagram account was a no brainer, and I soon found out that there was more to this app than just the Kardashians and other assorted “influencers” (I can’t believe they get paid for this shit, honestly). As I scrolled through the accounts that Instagram thought I’d be interested in, one stood out.

I was first drawn in by her photo. She is possessed of those qualities that are highly desired by those shallower aspects that are inherent to men. In short I thought she was hot. I started to follow her and checked out her profile. She was a local girl with an incredible musical talent, university educated, and she had also suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. I needed to find out more about this intriguing person, named Tobey Kai.

Natural talent

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From Tobey Kai’s Facebook page.

Tobey’s musical talents come naturally, both of her parents are musicians who came to Canada in the mid-’80’s. From a young age, she showed an interest in music, taking her first piano lesson at only 6years old. She says that her singing abilities came from her mother, who also sings opera.

The family would come to Calgary by way of Vancouver, and Tobey continued to study music, enhancing her natural born talent. She has a younger brother, and an “adopted sister” who has been in her life since her teen years.

You might think that Tobey would pursue a music education at the Alberta College of Art, but her interests also extend beyond music. Instead, she has not one but TWO bachelor’s degrees, and they have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other, holding degrees in biology and economics.

Animal lover

Courtesy Facebook


Equal to her passion for music is her passion for animals. She combines the two at her music studio where she gives private music and singing lessons. She has resident cats and dogs that will like to come and visit while she’s giving lessons, and she mentions this on her website giving anyone who might have allergies a heads up.

Conservation of the world’s oceans is another one of her causes and she is an advocate for the world’s sharks, whose populations have nearly been wiped out in Asia due to poaching. Shark fin soup has long been a delicacy in some Asian countries, but ever decreasing numbers have led to the dish been banned.

All life is precious. Meet Freyja, one of my many daughters I’ve had the honour of caring for over the years. A ferocious predator (not unlike a shark), but has never struck me because I haven’t given her reason to. 
Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand. 

To her, all life is precious, and she would soon come to know just exactly how very precious it is. On the home page of her website, you can listen to a song she wrote called “Ondine”, which she has dedicated to ocean and shark conservation.

A cagey polyglot

As if all of this weren’t impressive enough, she also speaks fluent German. I figure that she would be able to carry out lengthy conversations in at least three languages: English, Mandarin, and German. I ask her how many languages she can speak, and she’s coy about answering saying only that she “does dabble in a few languages”. Based on what I’ve learned about her so far, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that she could single-handedly interpret a meeting of the UN Security Council.


Touched by Alzheimers

In 2017 Tobey began writing a song about her grandfather, whom she lost to Alzheimer’s disease. Called “Who Are You”, it recounts her grandfather’s final words to her “Who are you, young lady? Are you lost?” It is a poignant song about an experience that many families go through, and can relate to. It would be several months before she would record the song however. At the beginning of 2018, something would happen that had a lasting and profound effect on her life.

Who Are You – Written for Alzheimer’s and brain injury awareness.

Everything changes in an instant

For Tobey, recreation is something done outdoors no matter what season it is and whether it’s on a bike or a snowboard, physical activity is just as much a part of her life as music. She’s as much at home on the back of a bicycle as she is on a snowboard, and it was while enjoying a day on the latter that things would change forever.

Sunday, January 14th was a pleasant day to be in the mountains, with temperatures only a couple degrees below zero. Deciding to take advantage of the beautiful weather, Tobey decided to go snowboarding at Nakiska that day. At the end of her first run, when she got to the bottom of the hill, she slipped and fell to the ground.

Moments later a skier collided with her, impacting her left temple. Almost immediately, she knew that something was very wrong. She had lost feeling below her neck, her fingers were twitching, and she knew that she was bleeding from somewhere underneath her helmet. Emergency crews were able to stabilize her and transport her to Calgary by ground ambulance. She remembers much of the hour long ride back to the city, but some memories are gone.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

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Your brain is covered by a thick, fibrous membrane called dura mater. Beneath the dura mater is the archnoid mater, under which cerebralspinal fluid helps to cushion the brain. A tear in a blood vessel can cause blood to accumulate in this space, putting pressure on the brain. Surgery may have to be performed to drain the blood and stop the hemorraging.

The odds of making a full recovery are against someone with a subarachnoid hemorrage as only one third of patients will have a good out come, another third will survive but with a disability, and the remaining third will die.

Nothing short of miraculous

For a very brief time Tobey was comatose, but she wouldn’t be unconscious for long. For the first few weeks, she was unable to walk and had to re-learn how. Her neck was also injured, and she would find talking painful. She began to wonder if she would ever sing again. But she persevered, and began to use music as rehabilitation.

To say that her recovery was miraculous would be an understatement. She learned to walk again and has been able to not only speak but return to singing the way she did before the accident. Only six months after the incident at Nakiska, Tobey appeared in the local media and performed “Who Are You” live. She looked as though nothing had happened at all.

She did not make a complete recovery however. She lost her short-term memory, something that she says is the one thing she regrets losing the most. She has also lost her sense of taste, and as is to be expected after a TBI, she has had some personality changes.

I ask her if her physical fitness had anything to do with how quick she was able to recover. She attributes it more to mental fitness, sheer determination, and stubbornness. I’d say she has the mental fitness to win an Ironman marathon while the competition eating her dust.

Most of all though, she credits music for pulling her through and giving her the motivation. She was composing again before she was allowed off bed rest. She also credits her life experiences for being able to maintain a sense of calmness through it all.

A song dedicated to our troops, our veterans, and their families.

On Remembrance Day 2018 Tobey released a new single titled “Time”. It is her emotional tribute to our active duty personnel, our veterans, and their families. Together, “Time” and “Who Are You” would make the perfect anthem for those verterans with the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) caused by mefloquine toxicity.

People like Tobey are very rare to find. With natural talent and beauty, a social conscience, an amazingly resilient brain, and the ability to inspire others, we are lucky to have someone like her.

In the future, when history recounts those individuals who have had a major impact on Calgary, and were among this country’s brightest shining stars, the historians will count Tobey Kai among them.



Картинки з України

Канадський ветеран у мандрівці зцілення душі фіксує деякі її моменти.

Це буде перша історія, яку я опублікую про війну в Україні, не тому, що я не маю жодної думки з цього приводу, а тому, що, чесно кажучи, я вважаю, що моя тарілка цілком повна. То чому, ви можете запитати, я роблю це зараз?

Учора я отримав повідомлення від мого друга, я не чув від нього кілька тижнів, і я почав дивуватися, що він задумав. Він почав з того, що надіслав мені кілька фотографій, тож я запитав його, що він робить. «Тренування» — це те, що він мені каже, тож я запитав: «Чого ви тренуєте на своїй фермі?». «Ні». каже: «Ти чув про Краматорськ? Просто на схід від нього». Мені знадобилася приблизно секунда, щоб зрозуміти це, і я впевнений, що моя щелепа відпала прямо на підлогу, коли я зрозумів, що він мені каже. Моєю першою реакцією було сказати: «Хіба!» кілька разів, роблячи короткі паузи між моїми приголомшеними висловлюваннями. Я запитав його, як довго він був там, і він сказав мені пару тижнів.

Він вирішив зробити те, що зробили багато інших ветеранів Збройних сил Канади, поїхавши в Україну, щоб допомогти навчати їхні Сили територіальної оборони, їхні загони міліції громадян-солдат. Він передає свій досвід як ветеран Канадського повітряно-десантного полку, щоб допомогти навчати підрозділи Рубіжанського підрозділу, надаючи цим військам інструкції, які вони зазвичай вивчали під час бойової школи піхоти, насамперед їхніх бойових медиків.

Він також сказав мені, що йому потрібна моя допомога в чомусь, і немає ніякого способу, щоб я міг так ні з цим хлопцем. Він один із моїх братів від іншої матері, і я дуже його поважаю. Він також був моїм хорошим другом протягом останніх 5 років або близько того, був поруч, коли мені це було потрібно. Зараз я детально пишу про те, що ми обговорювали, і незабаром щось опублікую. Досить сказати, що це щось дуже важливе, і життя поставлено під загрозу.

Мої думки.

Що стосується моїх власних думок і думок про цю війну, то вони не такі чорно-білі, як у багатьох людей. Я розглядаю це з точки зору більшої картини. Справа не лише в тому, що колишній підполковник КДБ намагається повернути старі добрі часи Радянського Союзу, чи в країні, яку вважають сильною, яка веде війну проти слабких. Це конфлікт, який розроблявся десятиліттями, і НАТО винна в цьому так само, як і Росія. Знову ж таки, як це було в Афганістані, НАТО виконала чудову роботу, щоб повністю зіпсувати ситуацію, і на жаль, це те, що платять ціну невинні цивільні особи, і, знову ж таки, це залежить від групи приватні громадяни, переважно ветерани з країн НАТО, які активізуються, щоб спробувати розчистити цей безлад. Сказавши це, росіяни точно не заслужили жодної симпатії ні в кого, включно з мною, незважаючи на перелік військових злочинів, які вони, здається, люблять скоювати.

Серце розривається за український народ, життя якого обірвано злочинною агресією росіян. Канада є домом для 1,4 мільйона осіб українського походження, що становить майже 4% від загальної кількості населення, і є другою за чисельністю діаспорою у світі після Росії. На межі ХХ століття десятки тисяч українців іммігрували до Канади, осідаючи у степних провінціях Альберти, Саскачевану та Манітоби. Там вони зробили перші кроки та облаштувалися в таких процвітаючих громадах, як Вегревіль, Альберта, де знаходиться одна з найбільших у світі писанок, а також у багатьох інших містах і містечках у преріях.

Ті, хто іммігрував сюди тоді, змогли вижити завдяки своїй природній хоробрості та стійкості, тій же хоробрості та стійкості, які дозволили їм відбиватися від російського ведмедя. Як і багато інших канадців, я стою на боці народу України в його найбільший час і сподіваюся, що мир настане швидше, ніж пізніше.

Життя в фотографіях.

Мій друг надіслав мені кілька фотографій, якими він дав мені дозвіл поділитися з вами, які я відредагував, щоб приховати особи тих, хто на них зображений. Це унікальний погляд на те, як живуть канадці, які власним коштом перебувають далеко від дому, щоб допомогти у підготовці українських солдатів-громадян. Я кидаю капелюха перед цією групою хлопців і висловлюю їм свою глибоку повагу за те, що вони зараз роблять. Я, як і багато інших канадців, дуже пишаюся вами за те, що ви вирушили в зону бойових дій, щоб допомогти аутсайдеру протистояти хулігану. Повертайтеся додому безпечно.

Слава Україні!

Pictures From Ukraine

A Canadian veteran on a soul-healing journey captures some of its moments.

This will be the first story that I have posted about the war in Ukraine, not because I don’t have any opinions about it, but because frankly, I am finding my plate to be quite full enough as it is. So why, you might ask, am I doing so now?

I got a message from a friend of mine yesterday, I hadn’t heard from him in a few weeks and I had started to wonder what he was up to. He began by sending me some pictures, so I asked him what he was doing. “Training” is what he tells me, so I said, “What you’re training on your farm?”. “Nope.” he says, “Have you heard of Kramatorsk? Just east of it.”. It took me about a second to process this, and I’m sure that my jaw dropped straight to the floor upon realizing what he was telling me. My first reaction was to say “Holy shit!” a few times, pausing briefly in between my stunned utterances. I asked him how long he had been there and he told me a couple of weeks.

He decided to do what a number of other Canadian Forces veterans have done by going to Ukraine to help train their Territorial Defence Forces, their citizen-soldier militia troops. He is lending his expertise as a veteran of the Canadian Airborne Regiment to help train elements of the Rubizhne Unit, providing instruction to these troops that they would have ordinarily learned during infantry battle school, primarily their combat medics.

He also told me that he needed my help with something, and there is no way that I could so no to this guy. He is one of my brothers from another mother and I have a lot of respect for him. He has also been a good friend to me over the last 5 years or so, there for me when I have needed it. I am currently writing in detail about what we discussed and I’ll be posting something very soon. Suffice it to say it is something of significant importance, and lives are at stake.

My thoughts.

As far as my own thoughts and opinions about this war, they are not exactly as black and white as a lot of people. I view this in terms of the bigger picture. It isn’t simply a matter of a former KGB Lieutenant Colonel who is trying to bring back the good old days of the Soviet Union, or of a country perceived to be strong waging war against the weak. This is a conflict that has been decades in the making, and NATO is just as much to blame for this as Russia. Once again, as they did in Afghanistan, NATO has done a great job at completely fouling things up, and the unfortunate thing is that innocent civilians are the ones who are paying the price and, yet again, it has been up to a group of private citizens, mostly veterans from NATO countries, who are stepping up to try to clean up this mess. Having said that, the Russians haven’t exactly earned any sympathy from much of anyone, myself included, what with the laundry list of war crimes they seem to enjoy perpetrating.

My heart breaks for the Ukrainian people whose lives have been torn apart by the criminal aggression of the Russians. Canada is home to 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent, which amounts to almost 4% of its total population, and the second-largest diaspora in the world next to Russia. At the turn of the 20th century, tens of thousands of Ukrainians were immigrating to Canada, settling in the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. There they broke ground and established themselves in thriving communities like Vegreville, Alberta, which is home to one of the world’s largest pysankas, as well as numerous other cities and towns across the prairies.

Those who immigrated here back then were able to survive because of their natural bravery and resilience, the same bravery and resilience that has enabled them to fend off the Russian bear. Like many other Canadians, I stand by the side of the people of Ukraine in their time of greatest need and hope that peace will come sooner rather than later.

Life in photos.

My friend sent me a number of pictures that he has granted me permission to share with you, which I have edited in order to conceal the identities of those who appear in them. It is a unique look at what life is like for the Canadians who are far from home at their own expense to help train Ukrainian citizen-soldiers. I tip my hat to this group of guys and give them my utmost respect for what they are now doing. I, like many other Canadians, am so very proud of you for heading into a war zone in order to help the underdog stand up to the bully. Come home safe all of you.

Slava Ukraini!

The Day My Uncle Got a Shot of Whiskey From the Commanding General of the Canadian Army

I’ve been going back and cleaning up some of my older posts, and I came across one from 2019 about my Uncle Jim, who was the oldest of the nine children that my grandma and grandpa had together, three boys and six girls. It was a story of legend in my family, and in 2015 I had the opportunity to hear it first-hand from some of the people who were best able to tell it, namely my Uncle Jim and one of his younger sisters. She was 10 years old at the time this story took place and still remembers the day that this all took place. My mom, the baby of the family, was only three and a half years old and as such has no memory of it. I had originally heard about this from my grandmother when I was about ten years old, and it would be years before I would finally get the whole story. I have also gathered information from newspaper archives and past issues of The Patrician magazine so that I could get the clearest account of this rather cool piece of my family’s history as possible.

Private James Bodner Svc No. SK13947 Feb. 1951-Nov. 1955

When World War Two broke out in 1939 my grandfather, Joe Bodner, joined the Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles (DCOR) at the age of 35 and was sent to England sometime in 1941. Because of his age, he wasn’t sent over to the continent and he would spend the entirety of his war in Britain. In 1940, a picture was taken of the regiment as they marched to the train station in New Westminster, a picture that would go down as one of the war’s iconic photographs. It was called “Wait for Me Daddy”, and featured a young boy running after his father, Jack Bernard, whose hand was reaching out to grab the hand of his son Warren, who was known better as “Whitey”. My grandpa was marching directly behind Bernard when this photograph was taken. I was about eleven or twelve years old when I found this out.

Grandpa had been home for about four years when Uncle Jim turned eighteen and decided that he wanted to have some adventures of his own. He joined the army and after finishing depot training he was posted to the 2nd Batallion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He was made for it, a large farm boy standing over six feet tall and built like the proverbial brick shithouse, he towered over my grandparents who were frankly short people. Seeing them in a picture together it was obvious that either there were some recessive tall genes in our family, or Uncle Jim was the milkman’s kid.

My grandparents’ biggest fear at the time was that he would be sent to the fighting in Korea, so when they found out he wouldn’t be going they breathed a sigh of relief. I don’t think they could have imagined that their son would be in as much danger at home as he would be if he were facing Kim Il Sung and Mao Zedong on the Korean peninsula.

Warren Bernard reaches for his father’s hand in New Westminster, Canada, 1940. Photograph: Claude D Detloff/City of Vancouver Archives

Mobile Strike Force.

By the early 1950’s the Cold War between East and West was seeing its beginnings, and with the formation of NATO in 1949, military planners would begin to plot out their strategies to counter the Eastern threat accordingly.

In Canada, an area of concern at the time was Arctic security. The area is vast, largely uninhabited, and on the doorstep of the Soviet Union. It would make for a very easy entry point for a Soviet invasion of North America. Helping to counter this threat would be behind the formation of a special army task force, whose job would be to literally jump to Canada’s defence. The Mobile Strike Force (MSF) would be the forerunner to the Airborne Regiment and the other special operations units Canada has deployed over the years. Canada’s second unit of shock troops, behind the famous Devil’s Brigade, they were to be the premier elite soldiers in the Canadian Army.

Always up for an adventure, Uncle Jim volunteered and was accepted into the MSF.

Friday 20 February 1953.

On the afternoon of Friday, February 20th, 1953, my then 10-year-old aunt was looking out the kitchen window when she saw a man come to the gate of the farm my grandparents lived on. They lived in B.C.’s Fraser Valley near the town of Mission, British Columbia, which is about a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver. My grandpa approached the fence and began talking with the man. Soon, my aunt noticed that her father kept looking back toward the house as he was talking, something which raised some red flags with her. Something was wrong.

A short time later the man got back in his car and drove off, while my grandpa was walking back to the house with unusual haste to his step. He walked through the kitchen door, then told my grandmother to sit down.

Exercise Bulldog.

C-47A Skytrain with open hatch at the 2008 ‘Flying Legends’ air show in Duxford, UK. (Wikimedia Commons)

As part of Canada’s effort to defend the north, it formed a plan to use troops from the Mobile Strike Force, who would be dropped into positions in Canada’s high Arctic. To test this plan, Exercise Bulldog would see members of the MSF parachuting out over Norman Wells, N.W.T. in freezing sub-zero February temperatures. When these jumps were made, the men’s rifles were being carried in a valise for extra protection upon hitting the ground. It was opened and closed using a cord to cinch it tight, which hung loosely on the outside of the valise.

My uncle was part of the second wave of jumpers and was to be the fifth man out the door of the C-47 “Skytrain” that Friday. As he was jumping out, the cord from the valise got hung up on the last seat nearest the door.

Ten of the longest seconds.

I have never jumped out of a moving plane before, let alone doing it with the equivalent of half my body weight strapped to me, so I can only imagine what the sensation of doing so must be. You would come to anticipate certain things, like the tug of the static line opening your parachute almost immediately upon jumping out. You fall a little bit, and then suddenly slow down as the canopy opens up above you, followed by a nice relatively gentle ride down until you meet the ground, hopefully at a reasonable speed.

Instead, his body would have been jerked forward in a manner that would have felt completely foreign to him at that moment. Instead of a tug, deceleration, and floating, he would have felt his body suddenly and unexpectedly being violently jerked forward, then slammed up against the fuselage of the plane. It probably would have taken him about ten seconds or so before he was able to grasp the situation at hand, and it would have been ten of the longest, most sheer and terrifying seconds of his life to that moment.

The static line that he was attached to hadn’t been pulled out enough to open the parachute, which was a very lucky thing for everyone. If it had, it would have likely been blown toward the tailplane, with the end result being the loss of the aircraft and all those aboard.

Fortunately, he resisted the urge to pull the cord on his reserve chute and instead tried to drag himself back inside without success. As he flew over the target area temperatures were in the minus 40s and the risk of exposure and hypothermia grew by the minute.

The men inside were also unsuccessful in trying to pull him back inside the C-47. As the plane continued to circle the drop zone, the need to find a solution grew by the minute. Landing the plane with a man hanging outside was not a viable option, and there was the possibility that he could still strike the tailplane after being freed, which would bring the aircraft down.

Finally, after 30 minutes, and as my uncle was on the verge of losing consciousness, a captain aboard the plane pulled out his knife and cut the valise cord. They were able to let my uncle know that they were going to cut him loose, and he gave them the signal to go ahead and do it. My uncle fell free from the Skytrain and both he and his parachute avoided hitting the horizontal stabilizer. He was able to land without injury and was promptly taken for medical treatment, suffering only from a mild case of hypothermia and some minor frostbite.

A visit from Lt.Gen. G.G. Simonds.

General Sir Bernard Montgomery shows Winston Churchill the battle situation on a map held by the Commander of the 2nd Canadian Division, General G G Symonds (sic), during the Prime Minister’s visit to Normandy, 22 July 1944. (Wikimedia Commons)

Not long after arriving at the hospital, my uncle noticed that everyone there seemed to be making a huge deal about him being there. He was relatively unharmed, suffering from exposure and some minor frostbite, though he was quite naturally shaken by the experience. He was beginning to wonder just what the hell was going on around him when the Regimental Sergeant Major walked into the room. He looked at my uncle and told him that GG Simonds was on his way to see him.

One of the two best Canadian Commanders ever (in my opinion).

I’m going to free my inner history nerd for a moment so please bear with me.

If someone were asked to name some well-known Generals of the recent era, you might expect to hear names like Eisenhower, Patton, DeGaulle, Sherman, or perhaps even Rommel or Hindenburg. Chances are more than likely that they wouldn’t be able to name a single Canadian General, yet there are two that are absolutely worth mentioning as being among the best in the world in their day.

The first is Arthur Currie, the brilliant Canadian Corps Commander from the War of 1914-18.

The second is Lt.Gen. Guy Granville (G.G.) Simonds, Chief of the Army Staff who had served with great distinction during the Second World War. He oversaw the buildup of the Canadian Army in the 1950s and was regarded as one of its best commanders, garnering him a great deal of respect. American general Omar Bradley would call him ” best of the Canadian generals”, and this sentiment was also felt by British staff officers as well. This exercise was of such importance to the army that he himself would be present to oversee things. “Ole Gee Gee” was how my Uncle would refer to him whenever he talked about him.

I digress.

Less than a minute after the RSM had entered my uncle’s hospital room, Simonds marched in. He asked my uncle how he was doing, and then proceeded to tell him that he (Simonds) was proud of him for keeping cool and calm. He didn’t panic and had managed to keep his head about him when it mattered, saving not only his own life but the lives of the men still aboard the Skytrain, and by God, Gee Gee was going going to be giving my Uncle a citation for it.

Simonds then proceeded to ask my uncle if there was anything that he could get for him, which was totally not the question he should have asked at that moment. “Well, sir, I could go for a stiff shot right about now.” was the reply my uncle gave. Almost at once, Simonds turned to look at the nurse closest to him and about two minutes of frenzied activity later, she returned with a shot glass filled to the brim with whiskey. As soon as the Commanding General had left the room, the RSM turned to my uncle and growled “You don’t go asking G.G. Simonds for a shot of whiskey. What the hell were you thinking?” to which my uncle replied, “Well, he asked me if there was anything he could get me.”

Meantime, back at the farm.

After telling his wife that their son had just been dangling outside of an airplane for a half hour my grandpa got in his truck and hauled ass for town heading straight to the Legion hall. It wasn’t a drink he was looking for however, it was some answers because you see, the man who my grandpa had been talking to by the gate wasn’t from the army. He was a reporter, though there is some confusion as to whether he was from The Province to the local Mission paper. That being said it didn’t really matter where he was from.

My grandparents didn’t receive “official” word about what had happened until about two hours after the reporter dropped by.

Ottawa Citizen, June 20, 1953

Getting back in the saddle.

Uncle Jim only spent a couple days in the hospital and as soon as he was cleared by the medical staff, he was put on the first available plane to jump out of. There wouldn’t be any ticker tape parade for him down Main Street in Mission, it was back to business right away, because the longer he would have waited to get on a plane again the more likely it would be that he would lose his nerve completely.


That June, Jim Bodner was awarded his commendation which read:

Private Bodner remained calm and collected throughout this trying ordeal. Had he panicked and pulled his reserve parachute it would in all probability have fouled the elevators on the tail plane, resulting in the loss of the aircraft and its crew.

His cheerfulness and calmness was an inspiration to all and his reactions under the circumstance showed the mark of a real man and a soldier of the highest standard.

No more mishaps.

The remainder of his jumps were without mishap, and he would have an otherwise uneventful career until he left the army in November of 1955.

He would later settle in Abbotsford, down the road and across the river from Mission.

He passed away on April 30, 2016, with his two daughters and his granddaughter at his side.

He never missed a Remembrance Day service no matter where he was. Proudly wearing a blazer and maroon beret with a PPCLI cap badge, he would always spend the day at the Legion with friends following the services.

The takeaways.

As I started working on this it occurred to me that it is now over seventy years since those events took place. This made me feel old.

On the plus side, I realized that anyone who knew Uncle Jim after this would have only two degrees of separation between themselves and Winston Churchill. It was pretty cool and made up for the old thing.

A message for the jumpers.

I would like to ask something of all the jumpers, current and past. When you next remember the Old Guard and reminisce of the exploits of those who came before you, please include Jim Bodner among them, and be sure to raise a glass in his honor.

The Deliverance of Dave Bona

A veteran of Somalia who has suffered from quinism for more than 25 years, Dave Bona shares his insights on the disease and the importance of nutrition.

The term “quinism” may seem new, but the symptoms of poisoning by mefloquine (previously marketed as Lariam®), tafenoquine (marketed as Krintafel® and Arakoda™), and related quinoline drugs are all too familiar: Tinnitus. Dizziness. Vertigo. Paresthesias. Visual disturbances. Gastroesophageal and intestinal problems. Nightmares. Insomnia. Sleep apnea. Anxiety. Agoraphobia. Paranoia. Cognitive dysfunction. Depression. Personality change. Suicidal thoughts.
These symptoms are not “side effects”. They are symptoms of poisoning by a class of drug that is neurotoxic and that injures the brain and brainstem. This poisoning causes a disease, and this disease has a name: Chronic quinoline encephalopathy — also known as quinism.

Veteran of the Somalia mission and quinism advocate, Dave Bona

When I initially began my investigation of mefloquine and the role it had to play in the “Somalia Affair”, the very first person I had a conversation with was Dave Bona. It was during that phone conversation that I would hear first hand of the destruction this drug was inflicting upon the lives of our veterans.

I had taken the time to find out what I could about Dave before I spoke with him, and consulted the vast number of articles and interviews that he is featured in online. I discovered a man who had been living in a nightmare for over a quarter of a century, the result of the neurotoxic drug he was ordered to take in 1992/93 while part of Operation Deliverance.

I had an idea about what I might expect to hear during our conversation, but hearing these things first hand was still shocking to me. He was giving me a perspective that nothing I had read to that point could ever truly give justice to. I was now speaking with someone who was living through a nightmare, and as I listened to him tell me about what his life has been like for all this time, a range of emotions began to build up inside of me.

The first thing that hits me as I talk with Dave is a sense of shock/horror/disbelief at 1) the symptoms that I am hearing this man describe to me and, 2) anger mixed with rage at the thought that this man and many others like him were poisoned at the behest of their government. This quickly added to my motivation as I set out to do something for these veterans who have paid a very high price for serving their country, a country whose government continues to deny them at every turn.

Canada’s Godfather of Mefloquine Advocacy

The former paratrooper has been actively involved in mefloquine awareness and advocacy for three years now. Although mefloquine awareness efforts in Canada had started several years before his involvement, his contributions have been enormous. Because of his efforts, a large and ever growing number of veterans has been made aware of quinism, resulting in an untold number of lives that will have been saved for receiving his message.

He’s also among the group of Canadians who have suffered its debilitating symptoms the longest, symptoms that have now lasted for the past 26 years. In that time he’s racked up a lifetime’s worth of experience in living with the disease and he shares his insights and knowledge with everyone in videos he posts on Facebook.

The importance of nutrition.

For Dave, nutrition is a critical weapon in his battle with quinism. Through his own research and by trial and error, Dave is learning the important role nutrition plays in recovering from traumatic brain injuries. Unlike PTSD, quinism is another form of TBI, though it is one that has been caused by a drug as opposed to kinetic force.

It isn’t only through videos that Dave gets his point across, as he also provides his analysis of mefloquine related issues in posts such as this one:

Dave is a very central figure when it comes to quinism in Canada, and his Facebook page is a repository of information on mefloquine and a gathering place for others who are advocating for mefloquine veterans.

Dave has also been the subject of many stories in the media over the years. Some tell of the ways that mefloquine has destroyed his life, but a great many others tell of how he is now fighting back, not just for himself but for the thousands of others just like him.

What Dave Bona is experiencing isn’t just a Canadian phenomenon. Thousands of veterans from across the globe have had the same symptoms, the same thoughts, the very same feelings that Dave has had. They are the feelings shared by battle-hardened American veterans of Afghanistan and Swedish tourists alike.

He has come to be a beacon in the darkness, helping to guide others away from peril and showing them to a safe harbour. If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of quinism, and aren’t sure about what to do, Dave would be a great resource for you.

You should also visit The Quinism Foundation at www,quinism.org for the most accurate and up to date information by the leading figure in quinism research, Dr. Remington Nevin. The foundation’s mission is laid out in the “About Us” section of their web page.

The foundation has an enormous job ahead. We must prepare healthcare organizations to identify those exposed to quinolines and to screen for symptomatic quinoline exposure. We must educate clinicians to diagnose chronic quinoline encephalopathy and other medical conditions caused by quinoline poisoning. We must train researchers to distinguish the effects of quinism from those of other disorders, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). We must assist government agencies to recognize those suffering disability from quinism. We must identify risk factors for the disease. We must attempt to count all those affected. And, we must support a search for effective treatments.

… The foundation is proud to be listed as a registered charity in the PayPal Giving Fund, on Amazon Smile, and in the Network for Good’s donor-advised fund. You can also read more about the foundation’s charitable activities by reviewing our listing on Guidestar.


Please visit the website to get information on how to make a donation.



Daughter of a Veteran in Need Of Your Help

I have known this girl for over 25 years, her mom is a veteran and a good friend of mine.

I am reaching out to all my brothers and sisters from other mothers and misters for a little bit of assistance, a friend of mine is in rather great need of some help right now. Her mom is a veteran, so I was hoping that some of you might be able to lend a hand to someone who is part of the family.

Any amount that you could donate would be very greatly appreciated by this desperate single mother.

Thanks for taking the time.

Hi, my name is Monique and I am desperately asking for help, because I’m in a pickle.

Some of you may know my situation, some of you may not, but lately it feels like the universe is against me, and I just cannot catch a break.

I am a single mom, which in itself is not easy, factor in this economy + getting laid off + my abusive ex, it gets harder and harder to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The reason why I agreed to let my friend create this go fund me, is because I have no other choice, but to rely on the kindness of friends, family, and strangers to try and keep a float.

Since the transmission blew on my van, I have been desperately trying to get it fixed or find a replacement.

I was lucky enough to have a friend loan me a vehicle, but now that loaner vehicle has got to go back to its original owner.

I am still unable to secure a permanent vehicle, and I only have two weeks to obtain another vehicle.

If I cannot, I will not be able to continue working nor will I have access to my children, since I have to drive 30kms every day, just in order to access time with them.

I need a miracle, I have not been able to get ahead. Every time I gain an inch I lose a mile. I have found an identical vehicle to mine on marketplace and have a friend that can help to use parts from that vehicle to fix mine, so I can continue to see my children and keep my new job I just started.

I know times are tough for so many, and I know my situation is not unique, but if you can spare anything to help buy a replacement vehicle, I will eternally be grateful.


Save the Date!

7th Annual Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally, September 23rd & 24th, 2023 in Kingston, Ontario.

The Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally is returning to Ontario this year, and Kingston will be the place to be on the weekend of September 23rd and 24th for the seventh annual gathering.

I’m looking forward to being there again this year as it will be the first chance in a couple of years for many of us to meet in person again, following the onerous travel restrictions that kept us from being able to do so. We are hoping to see some of our American friends and colleagues in advocacy over the weekend as well, including Dr. Remington Nevin, Executive Director of the Vermont-based Quinism Foundation,

A forum is planned for Saturday the 23rd with the rally itself on Sunday the 24th.

Further details will be announced closer to the date.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.


Why it matters could save your life.

As in several countries, the rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Canadian veterans have increased dramatically since 2001, an increase that can of course to a large part be attributed to the war in Afghanistan though it may go back further.

After doing some investigating, I discovered that there has been an alarming number of misdiagnosed PTSD cases among Canadian veterans. What these veterans are suffering from is far more dangerous and insidious than PTSD. These veterans have suffered an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) as the result of having taken a neurotoxic antimalarial drug called mefloquine, which also goes by the brand name Lariam.

It is technically known as Chronic Quinoline Encephalopathy, also known as Quinism.

It was first given to our troops in Somalia in 1991 and since then tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel have been given this drug. and some of the adverse effects can mimic PTSD. It should be noted that it is also quite possible to be suffering from both PTSD and Quinism, making a correct diagnosis even harder.

The first and most noticeable immediate adverse effect reported was very vivid and disturbing nightmares. This is what is known as a prodromal symptom, which is an early indicator of an attack or disease. Once prodromal symptoms begin to appear the patient should immediately discontinue the use of the drug, however, Canadian Forces personnel were ordered to continue taking the drug despite the presence of these symptoms. Unknown to them, mefloquine began to destroy cells in their brain stems which would lead to a myriad of permanent and debilitating symptoms.

In all, there are 34 adverse effects that are attributable to Quinism, of which there are 17 that it has in common with PTSD. These are psychological in nature and include such issues as nightmares, anger, depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, visual and auditory hallucinations, and psychosis. It has been attributed to several murder-suicides in Canada and the United States and I was able to locate someone who witnessed Lionel Desmond taking mefloquine in Afghanistan.

There have been many instances where people with no prior history of depression or other mental illness have developed these symptoms after taking mefloquine. The damage can be done after taking a single dose and it gets worse when more doses are taken. There have been instances where some Canadian troops had to take mefloquine over the course of one to two years during their careers.

What differentiates quinism from PTSD are the physiological effects that accompany it. Those with quinism also suffer from such things as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, digestive issues such as chronic indigestion and/or diarrhea, photosensitivity, sudden migraine, irregular heartbeat, persistent cough, memory loss, inability to concentrate/multi-task, and visual impairment. For the majority these symptoms are debilitating, leaving them unable to work.

The treatment for PTSD typically includes prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. For people with quinine, however, medications like these can make their symptoms worse thus exacerbating their condition rather than helping. 

That’s because people with quinism have suffered a BRAIN INJURY and it is critical that they are treated so medically and therapeutically. There is as yet no cure or treatment for quinism, however, there are things that can be done that will greatly improve the quality of life for those afflicted with this condition. 

Many of our veterans have taken their own lives, not knowing or understanding what was happening to them. This knowledge can and will save the lives of untold people and I need to make sure that it gets to every Canadian Forces veteran.

If this sounds like you or, if you are the family member or caregiver of a veteran and this seems familiar to you, you are not alone. There are thousands of others like you across Canada and many, many more around the world.

For more information about quinism, visit the Quinism Foundation at https://quinism.org/

I’m Derek Bodner.

Twitter @ibmediacorp1



Google Doodle Botches Things….Again

Remembrance Day doodle is an insult to veterans.

To paraphrase something recently said by Canadian MP Michelle Remple-Garner in the House of Commons, enough of the woke shit already.

I have to wonder who in the brain trust at Google thought this was a good idea? Or is it that someone is just plain ignorant?

What Google is in effect saying here is “Today we commemorate those lives lost in war along with everyone who has died ever.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen.Source: Niall Carson 2019

A paper poppy field outside the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. The Menin Gate Memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of the First World War and whose graves are not known. (File photo) (Virginia Mayo/Associated Press)

In many countries, the red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who fell, not a black ribbon. It’s not as if there weren’t enough pictures online for someone to get the idea. Perhaps Google would do wise to maybe so a little bit of research. How bloody ironic is that?

The Poppy is a common symbol of remembrance for those who died in the pursuit of freedom. People wear this poppy as a pin on their left breasts in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Place a wreath at the grave of a deceased member of the military.
  • Wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

In short Google, you really need to step up your game and DO BETTER!!!!

The millions of people you have alienated over this would I’m sure agree.


Something Big Is On The Way

Major plans in the works for IBMedia.

A few weeks ago I announced that I would be interviewing a former Canadian Forces senior officer who is part of the mass tort action against the Government of Canada by veterans who were injured by the antimalarial mefloquine.

This is still the plan, however, what had originally been an idea for an interview has transformed into something much larger, and it has turned into a major project that I think will prove to be a huge success. A window of opportunity presented itself that I absolutely needed to act on immediately. Although there will certainly be an element of risk involved as would be in any business venture, I also believe very much in the Latin proverb fortes fortuna adiuvat, Fortune Favors the Bold.

I am anticipating that I will be able to share what is going on with you in the next few weeks. Until then, thank you for your patience and support.

Veteran’s Voices Afghanistan 158 Commemorative Coins Are Arriving

Message from Al Cameron.

The 158 Aghanistan commemorative coin


Our coins have finally been shipped to us and that means we will have these in our hands the first week of October. And then, we’ll ensure we get them in the mail or dropped to you asap! Thank you everyone for your patience!

We still have many to be purchased, and will continue to be selling a limited number of these in support of several things;

One donated coin per family of the 158 as well as one per Afghanistan Veteran documented;

-To on camera document our initiative “The 158″; Honouring those 158 Canadian soldiers KIA in Afghanistan who couldn’t come back to tell their story, but documenting 158 who could”.

-If all 1000 coins are purchased, we will make a donation to an Afghanistan Veteran Association, still to be decided upon.

We are selling these limited edition coins for $35 including shipping with a decorative display box while supplies last. Etransfer to acct@vetvoicecan.org with your mailing address and email address in the message box, please.

Please share, share, share away and order your coin today! We do etransfers to acct@vetvoicecan.org, but please PLEASE give your email and mailing address in the message box when you send.