Kitchener man raises money for PTSD victims by doing the polar bear run

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CTV Kitchener

Published Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:01PM EST

Last Updated Sunday, February 10, 2019 7:23PM EST

Craig Bongelli ran eight miles in the cold without a shirt on to raise funds for veterans and first responders with PTSD.

The Kitchener man is sending all the money he gathers to services at St. Joseph’s Operational Stress Clinic in London that help military and first responders.

Bongelli first joined the Canadian Forces as a reservist about a year ago when he met Warrant Officer Tim Nightingale, who had been suffering from PTSD after his tours overseas.

“There was an IED explosion in Afghanistan, we had three killed in action…or that’s what we believed,” said Nightingale. “Afterwards I found out that one of them, the guy I had working on, Bob, had survived. So it took a year and a day to find out.”

After hearing about Nightingale’s treatment he received at St. Joe’s, Bongelli was inspired to start his run.

“What better way to, no pun intended, get a little skin in the game,” he said.

Bongelli says he has currently raised $2,600, more than $1000 of his original goal.

For him and Nightingale, the continued support for veterans and first responders means the most.

“It’s nice to have somebody step up and recognize that and help give us a hand,” said Nightingale. “To make sure that the support is there for us when we come home.”

Bongelli says he’ll be doing the run next year if the support is there and plans to keep his GoFundMe page up until Monday.

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