Former Canadian Medic Who Lost Both Legs in Afghanistan
—Romeo Dallaire, Lieutenant-General (Retired)
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and raised in Western Canada, Paul Franklin found his calling when he joined the Canadian Forces in 1999 and was posted to 1 Field Ambulance in Edmonton, Alberta. He established a successful career in the military as a company Emergency Medical Technician, while continually pushing himself to pursue higher-level military medical training. He effectively used his skills and experience to organize Tactical Combat Casualty Care courses and advanced Combat Related First Aid for infantry soldiers. These courses provided vital medical training to soldiers and when taken into combat can save lives.
On 15 January 2006 a suicide bomber attacked MCpl Franklin's convoy. This event changed his life in an instant. MCpl Franklin found himself lying against a wall with his left leg gone and his right leg destroyed. A fellow soldier, that he had just taught, put on the tourniquet that saved his life. After a long and arduous medical journey, MCpl Franklin was a double above the knee amputee. He eventually found himself at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta where he put his energies into rehabilitation and recovery.
On 24 March 2006, just two months after his initial injury and one month after his last surgery, Paul Franklin walked with artificial legs for the first time. At this time he discovered a new passion...to help other amputees. When interacting with other injured patients and amputees, he saw hard working hospital staff caring for these individuals; Franklin had the idea to start a charity to "improve the lives of amputees." After extensive consultation with his health care professionals, he co-founded the Northern Alberta Amputee Program (NAAP), which later became known as the "Franklin Fund." Soon after his discharge from the hospital, he began to travel the country telling his story. This quest became integral with his road to recovery.
In 2009, TIME Magazine has named Paul Franklin as one of "Canada's Heroes" and Rubicon Publishing published a book naming MCpl Franklin as one of "The Top 10 Most Inspiring Canadians." Franklin has had extensive television and press coverage about his story and recovery, and was the subject of a book by Liane Faulder entitled The Long Walk Home. Paul Franklin continues to touch lives of those within the Canadian military as he helps other wounded soldiers through the Peer Visitation program, a certification he holds through the Amputee Coalition of Canada (ACC). Paul is a member of the Board of Directors and the Fundraising Chair of the ACC. He continues his dedicated quest to enhance and improve the care of all amputees. He found his passion and purpose in continuing to live his life to the fullest while encouraging others to do the same.
Paul Franklin is single and enjoys living in Edmonton raising his son Simon. The two have been spotted all over the world on their travels.
The Long Walk Home
In his keynotes, Franklin shares stories about the work he and his fellow soldiers were doing in Afghanistan. Whatever your feelings on Canada's involvement, he brings an articulate, non-polemical and rarely glimpsed human element to discussions of our mission. With affable charm and perspective, he also talks about the infamous bombing—about how a combination of improvisational teamwork, mental toughness and vigorous training kept him alive. At the core of his talk is the immense hope he held onto, even when things looked bleakest, to see his family and to be able to walk his son to school every morning
The Long Walk Home: Paul Franklin's Journey from Afghanistan
The Canadian media were the first to bring Master Corporal Paul Franklin's story to the public, and it is only fitting that award-winning journalist Liane Faulder brings the full account of his return from a war zone. The Long Walk Home: Paul Franklin's Journey from Afghanistan documents the recovery of a soldier injured in a 2006 suicide bombing that left one Canadian diplomat dead, and two comrades in arms wounded.
Although Franklin made a promise to his wife that he would come home alive, he needed the heroic help of soldiers on the scene and a medical team abroad to keep his word. He lost both of his legs above the knee as the result of his injuries, but returned home determined to walk again. Within four months of his injury, and against the odds and predictions of doctors, Franklin learned to walk on artificial legs. He continues to represent the courage of Canadian troops overseas as he rebuilds his life at home with his wife Audra and their young son, Simon. As a family on a journey to recovery, they are determined to stand, and walk, together.
The Long Walk Home: Paul Franklin's Journey from Afghanistan is a story of loss, courage, love and hope. It inspires all of those - military and civilians alike - who wonder how they will take that next step when tough times challenge the body and the spirit.
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