Step Up Foundation

Our Mission

The Step Up Foundation strives to change the narrative concerning the number of veterans suicides by dramatically expanding awareness regarding the effects of blast wave injury, traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress. Through physical challenges and speaking engagements, The Step Up Foundation will raise funds to increase support of programs dedicated to the research and treatment of these injuries while honoring the sacrifice made by our veterans.

Navy Seal Chad Wilkinson
October 29, 2018, Navy SEAL Chad Wilkinson took his life. While approaching his 21st year active duty and experiencing multiple combat deployments, his body and his mind had taken too much. Following his death, his family donated his brain to science and would later learn he suffered from interface astroglial scarring. This scarring is similar to the more readily heard chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or punch drunk. However, interface astroglial scarring is specific to our veterans in that it doesn’t necessarily occur with physical contact or trauma but rather blast waves they are exposed to in both training and combat. This scarring is making its way into our military due to excessive exposure to blast wave injury experienced in both training and combat.

An aspiring mountaineer and following his death the world took to Chad’s workout, 1,000 box step ups with a 45 lb pack to train for such climbing expeditions which is now known as CHAD1000X. This workout has grown to be a testament of the struggles our military face with PTSD, TBI’s and blast wave injury. As Chad often said, “Uncomfortable can’t last forever”. This annual Veterans Day workout now serves as a trademarked platform for fellow Americans to honor our veterans and their invisible wounds. We stand beside them in support, we honor their struggle and will fight for their comfort as they have for us.
Thus,
Step Up Foundation was born.

Chad’s wife, Sara Wilkinson, was always familiar with a military life as she grew up the youngest to a father in the Marine Corp. Her upbringing allowed her to understand the stress, high cycle time of deployments and frequent training trips while furthering to instill her independence and resilience.

Unfortunately, she’s learned even the most prepared can be unprepared in the wake of suicide. Sara has seen firsthand the hardships among the special operations community specific to multiple combat deployments, high cycle times and too many friends lost leaving lasting stress on the operators and their families. While her experience is within the Navy SEAL community she fully understands that many of our veterans are struggling regardless of branch, rank or time in service. Sara is dedicated to using her voice and her story to change the narrative and the number to this veteran suicide epidemic.

Sara Wilkinson

Partners

Warrior For Life Fund
Warrior For Life Fund
Chad 1000X
Chad 1000X
Operation Canyon Rising
Operation Canyon Rising
VETS
VETS
GORUCK
GORUCK
The Honor Foundation
The Honor Foundation
SOUND OFF
SOUND OFF

Step Up Foundation
P.O. Box 1402
Virginia Beach, VA 23451