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Tags: canada | kelsi sheren | veterans | ptsd | euthanasia

Canadian Army Vet Fights Country's Euthanasia Push

By    |   Monday, 10 July 2023 05:30 PM EDT

Canadian Army veteran Kelsi Sheren was 19 years old when her life changed forever on a mission in Afghanistan in 2009. Today she's fighting Canada's push to expand euthanasia access to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Six months into her stint in the military, the Canadian artillery gunner was "still shaking" and headed home on a military helicopter after witnessing one of her battalion mates explode when he set off a hidden IED.

"That was my first exposure to watching someone die," Sheren told the Daily Mail. "And that was my first exposure to having to clean up what was left of someone."

Sheren said it took scrubbing the fallen soldier's remains off of her hands "for the reality of what we were doing to it" and said the experience "broke part of my brain."

Once home in Vancouver, she realized she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and tried several therapy techniques with varying success. Her main outlet proved to be art therapy.

Drawing a blank when she tried to process how she was feeling, Sheren said she "couldn't really feel anything."

"I wasn't happy. I wasn't sad. I wasn't tired. I was just enraged," she told the Mail.

The combat veteran has become an outspoken critic of the Canadian government's push to make euthanasia available to veterans battling PTSD. The practice was first legalized in 2016.

"It's disgusting and it's unacceptable," she said, claiming that Canadian authorities would rather a soldier be euthanized than pay for the cost of their recovery.

According to an analysis of official data by Canada's Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the country is on track to record about 13,500 state-sanctioned suicides for 2022, which is a 34% increase from the 10,064 recorded in 2021.

Sheren — whose story is told in her new book, "Brass and Unity," out on Tuesday — has made helping other veterans her new mission.

She decided to launch a business after making bracelets out of bullet casings and now counts numerous celebrities as clients, including Ellen DeGeneres, Beth Behrs and Kevin Hart.

It's Hart whom she credits her success to, after he advised her to change the name of her business from "Wearables" to something that would be more appealing to men.

Coining the name "Brass and Unity," Sheren said it's since been applied to a growing following, a podcast and her new book.

For Sheren, the Canadian government's push to allow euthanasia for veterans is personal, telling the Mail that she knows nearly a dozen former military members who have been offered euthanasia by government authorities.

"When you take people who were willing to put their lives on the line for you, for your safety, then you have the audacity to tell them 'it's better if you just die' ... it is one of the most disgusting things," she said. "It's unacceptable, and it is one of the most infuriating things to come down from the Canadian administration in the last decade."

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Canadian Army veteran Kelsi Sheren was 19 years old when her life changed forever on a mission in Afghanistan in 2009. Today she's fighting Canada's push to expand euthanasia access to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
canada, kelsi sheren, veterans, ptsd, euthanasia
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2023-30-10
Monday, 10 July 2023 05:30 PM
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