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A Career Cut Short

Heroes Remember

I joined up through the Navy and I went the officer route so I finished university I did all my training and all my courses to get trained up for that and the posting was actually out to the west coast. I had never seen the west coast out to British Columbia so I figure I might as well go out there and see what it’s like out there. I had gotten my first posting out there. I had finished all my training and after I was out there for eight months that was when I got sick so I never really got into a job. I just got out there got my first position and half way through that, like four months into that I got sick. I was still an officer cadet. I hadn’t got promoted yet because my physical fitness wasn’t where it should have been due to the sickness and still I hadn’t been promoted at that point. And I knew something was wrong when I was finishing up university because every morning I would wake up and I would feel sick and I would throw up sometimes. It was just stomach acid and I knew something was wrong and when I got out to my first posting in Esquimalt and went to see the doctor and he sent me for an MRI and they found an actual lump on my brain which had been causing a build-up of spinal fluid in my head which was making me sick every morning and I wasn’t feeling like myself and caused me to gain a bunch of weight as well. And after they sent me for that they had to figure out what it was so they put me through a biopsy to figure out which was actually first. At first it was diagnosed as sarcoidosis which was wrong and then I was posted back to Gagetown where my family was and they did another biopsy of it and it came back as a germanium brain tumor. But at that point before I had even left Esquimalt, Victoria, B.C. I had lost my vision back in 2013 because of the build-up of spinal fluid had damaged my optical nerves causing me to lose my vision.

Officer Cadet Boulanger speaks about his desire to serve in the Navy yet upon completion of training with a posting in Esquimalt, is diagnosed with cancer causing vision loss making it impossible to continue his career path.

Aaron Boulanger

Mr. Aaron Boulanger was born in March 10, 1990 in Calgary, Alberta. As a child Aaron and family moved back to the Gagetown, New Brunswick. Coming from a military family with his dad and two brothers serving, Aaron realized he too would choose this career. After finishing high school Aaron joined the Navy and obtained his university degree at UNB under the support of the military. While training in Esquimalt, B.C. holding rank of Officer Cadet, Aaron became very ill and was diagnosed with a brain tumour which caused blindness. Now left to regain his independence Aaron moved back to Oromocto, NB to gain assistance from his family as well as tremendous support through CNIB. As time passed Aaron made the choice to get healthy and by doing so was selected as part of Team Canada 2018 Invictus Games Team. Being blind did not stop Aaron from choosing the sport of archery and with his father by his side achieved his personal best during the games in Australia, October 2018. Aaron will be medically discharged from the military and looks forward to finding a new career path. He now resides in Oromocto, New Brunswick with his family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
September 27, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Aaron Boulanger
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Officer Cadet
Officer Cadet

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