Submitted by PTSD Foundation

Seven-time Olympic medalist Amanda Beard will headline the fourth-annual SWING for a Soldier golf tournament benefiting the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation on Monday, July 10.

This year’s tournament, a traditional four-person scramble, will be held at the award-winning Canterwood Golf Course in Gig Harbor.

More than 140 golfers will join Beard to show their support for local veterans and their families who are recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

SWING for a Soldier
This year’s tournament, a traditional four-person scramble, will be held at the award-winning Canterwood Golf Course in Gig Harbor. Photo courtesy: Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation

“We are so lucky to have Amanda at our tournament this year,” said Packy Rieder, tournament director and U.S. Army veteran. “Amanda is an amazing athlete and throughout her career she has been a role model for so many people.”

Gig Harbor resident Beard is a former world-record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke. She has earned two gold, four silver and one bronze Olympic medals and was named American Swimmer of the Year twice. Throughout her swimming career, she has earned 21 international medals.

In addition to her support for local veterans, Beard’s most recent endeavor is the Beard Swim Co., a learn-to-swim program for children in Gig Harbor.

“I am honored to support the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation,” Beard said. “I challenge all local golfers to take me on as we raise funds to help our local veterans with PTSD.”

For Beard, supporting the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation is important because of her own personal story. While not comparing her experience to the horror of combat, she found herself struggling with depression, bulimia, drug abuse and bad relationships throughout her career.

SWING for a Soldier
More than 140 golfers will join Beard to show their support for local veterans and their families. Photo courtesy: Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation

“It was the bottom of the bottom for me in my life,” Beard said. “I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. It just got to be too much.”

Beard credits her strong support system, including her husband, with helping turn her life around.

“We (people) get into this mindset where we don’t want to be a burden on someone, or don’t want people to think differently of us,” Beard said. “But when we start opening up and talking about these things, so many other people have similar experiences and issues. I think that was really a healing process for me.”

Beard’s feelings of depression and disconnection are similar to those experienced by many veterans with PTSD. She hopes that the money raised from the tournament will help some of local veterans get the treatment they need to heal and regain their lives.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that between 11 percent and 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans are battling PTSD while the National Center for PTSD estimates that 30 percent of veterans who spend time in a combat zone will experience PTSD. The Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation helps them and their families find a light through the darkness by raising money for alternative therapy programs that enrich their lives. Since 2011, more than $250,000 has been raised.

The SWING for a Soldier tournament begins with a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. Registration for the tournament is $200 per person and includes a round of golf, golf cart, practice range, tee prizes, lunch and dinner. An awards ceremony will immediately following the tournament.

Thanks to generous sponsors all proceeds from the tournament will be used to support local programs for veterans with PTSD.

Golfers can register for the tournament at www.swingforasoldier.org.  For more information about the Permission to Start Dreaming Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.ptsdfoundation.org.

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