Conrad Heegsma joined the Canadian Forces in July 1985. After completing basic training, I was posted to CFB Petawawa. In 1987 I was posted to CFB Lahr in Germany and was there until being posted to Gagetown, NB with the Armoured School while there I held many different positions including being a driver for student that were students on leadership training and later as an Instructor. My next posting in 2004 sent me to Edmonton, AB where I was a tank loader and later became a tank commander and also instructed some trade training. My final posting sent me back to Gagetown, NB in 2007 this time to the training center where I was an instructor.
In 2008 my body began to fail me from all of the abuse of the many years in a combat arms trade and playing military hockey. I had DDD of my lumbar and c-spine and arthritis causing me to have relentless pain to the point that I could no longer function in the as an instructor in the field. At this time, I became involved with distance learning as an instructor, programmer / coordinator for online leadership training until I was medically released in 2014 after serving nearly 29 years.
My wife and I moved to London, ON where I currently reside. I have been focusing on my health and education for the last several years. I completed three different collage programs online at Fanshaw College. After a lot of coordination with my case manager and my family doctor I was able to attend the intensive pain management program at the DeGroot Pain Clinic in Hamilton, ON. Where my transformation began. The knowledge and skills that I acquired to deal with my chronic pain from the amazing people at the DeGroot Pain Clinic and some fantastic health care providers in London. I can now do things that I never thought in a million years would be possible for me to do. I began volunteering at a local YMCA and now I am a wellness coach at that very same branch of the YMCA. Anyone that knows me says that I am an inspiration of what is possible if you put the work in to get there and I hope that my story may inspire you also.