Language selection


Corporal (Ret'd) Jessica Garneau

Invictus competitor retired Corporal Jessica Garneau was set to compete at the 2020 Invictus Games which was postponed due to the global pandemic but for Garneau this did not mean giving up on her dreams nor on her training. Faced with difficult challenges in the past, Garneau knows all too well how to cope when the chips are down.

Share this article on:
Jessica Garneau

Jessica Garneau joined the Royal Military College of Canada in 2007 where she spent one year in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec and two years in Kingston, Ontario. Upon graduating, she worked at the 1st Canadian Field Hospital at CFB Petawawa, Ontario. However, shortly afterwards, Garneau suffered a mental health injury which forced her to retire from the Canadian Armed Forces.

“She believed she could, so she did, and she will!”

Forced to regroup and find ways to cope with her new reality, Garneau turned to the one thing she could always count on: sports. As a strong competitor, Garneau is not afraid to push herself. Her motto is "She believed she could, so she did," and she will!

"These words mean something to me which is why it's my tattoo – words to live by that I see every day and serves as a daily reminder when I need a dose of positivity!" Garneau says.

“Sports has this way of challenging me both physically and mentally.”

Through a program called Soldier On, which aims to support veterans and serving members adapt and overcome permanent physical or mental health injuries or illness through physical activity and sport, Garneau was able to finds her voice, strength and confidence again.

"Sports has this way of challenging me both physically and mentally," she says.

As an outstanding competitor, Garneau was selected to compete in the 2020 Invictus Games. For someone with social anxiety, agoraphobia, and a fear of international travel, to attend the training camps was a huge accomplishment.

"Just to simply show up at the training camps was a big deal for me, I was really proud of myself for conquering my fears and pushing my limits."

During these unprecedented times, Garneau admits she must dig deep to remain positive.

"I'm part of a running group and I'm doing meditation virtually to get through this pandemic." She says "We know that we must live with this virus but we also know that it won't be forever so it's what we do during the lockdown to stay well and positive that matters."

Garneau is extremely grateful for the support and guidance she has received from Soldier On, and credits the program with empowering her to adapt and re-integrate with local, community-based activities, and remain active for life.

"It was a good fit for me." says Garneau. "From the moment I linked up with them, I felt like they had my back and they helped me set some life goals, for that I am so thankful."

There is no doubt that Garneau's injury has shaped her. She wants Canadians to know that she couldn't heal on her own. It took the support and guidance of Soldier On and she confirms that the fundamental aspect to recovering from any injury lies in the support that you receive. She was able to establish a fresh outlook and positive image of herself and she continues to build on that foundation. Garneau encourages all Canadians in uniform to come forward if they need a helping hand.

"What you will find at the other end is hope for a better tomorrow and a community willing to support you on your journey without judgment." Garneau says.

Once a new date is set for 2021 Invictus Games, Garneau aims to work on her personal gains by staying focused and not letting her injury take over her mindset. She is excited about reaching her fitness goals all while representing Canada in wheelchair basketball, sprinting and bike riding.

This summer Veterans Affairs Canada will highlight the competitors who are scheduled to represent Canada at the 2021 Invictus Games in the Hague, the Netherlands. Corporal (Ret'd) Jessica Garneau is this week's Face of Freedom.

Listen to Jessica Garneau on our Faces of Freedom Podcast.

Date modified: