Have you watched someone park in a handicap spot and questioned why there were allowed to park there, when they get out and walk into the building, effortlessly?
Have you ever seen a person who was accompanied by a service dog, when entering a restaurant or boarding a plane, even though the person had no visible disabilities?
Not all wounds are visible. Disabilities come in all forms. Veterans, especially, suffer from an extremely wide range of injuries that cannot be seen from the outside.
Cancer is one of those invisible disabilities that, in fact, can kill us. Veterans from the Vietnam War and the Gulf War have high rates of cancer related to chemicals used during their service. Service members in general tend to have higher rates of melanoma, brain, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, breast, prostate, and testicular cancers.
Alongside those cancers are physical wounds that may not be outwardly visible and the internally manifested post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Each of these may result in a disability that the veteran must find ways to manage.
Physicians often prescribe pills for the pain, which has also contributed to the current opioid epidemic. When pills become too much or create additional issues, organizations are available to step in to help the veteran manage the pain and manage the disability.
Many of Veteran’s Passport to Hope’s grant recipients offer those services to veterans. From horse therapy to service dogs, from family support to fishing to farming, these organizations reach out to veterans to give them productive alternatives to medications. VP2H is proud to support these veterans and the organizations that serve them.
Veterans know all wounds aren’t visible. They often need help convincing others of their pain, whether physical, mental, emotional, or all three. Knowing that options exist can give hope. VP2H’s goal is to make sure everybody knows and has access to resources they need.