Former RAF Medic, Michelle Partington, will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of SSAFA, the UK’s oldest Armed Forces charity…

Michelle joined the RAF at the age of 19 and reached the rank of sergeant before commissioning as a Medical Support Officer. She was the first female paramedic to work on the frontline with the RAF Regiment.

However, following two grueling tours of Afghanistan she developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which left her terrified to leave the house and forced to resign her commission after 22 years of service.

With the help and support of Eva Graves, a team manager with SSAFA’s Personal Support & Social Work Service RAF, Michelle has since gradually turned her life around and is now using her personal experience to help others.

Now aged 45 and self-employed, Michelle has decided to take part in the 2018 London Marathon as a test to see if she has overcome her PTSD – whilst also raising money for charity who supported her during her time of need.

Speaking about her experience and the challenge ahead, Michelle says: “The choice to take part in the London Marathon was really down to me wanting to see if I am recovering from my PTSD. Completing the London Marathon within a certain timeframe isn’t a focus for me, it’s about coping with the crowds of runners and supporters.

“SSAFA saved my life. When I was at my lowest and planning to take my own life, I received a letter from SSAFA informing me they were going to take me off their books because they hadn’t heard from me. I frantically emailed them asking for help and two days later a SSAFA case worker turned up on my doorstep.

“Eva has done so much for me. She was there for me when no one else was. Just knowing Eva was coming, gave me the push I needed to get out of bed, have a shower and get dressed. I’ll always be grateful to SSAFA for being there when no-one else was!”

Jonathan Sandall, Director of Fundraising at SSAFA, says: “Every mile that Michelle runs will make a difference to the lives of our Forces and their families, with all money raised going towards helping continue the vital work of SSAFA. We wish Michelle the best of luck with the rest of her training and we will be at the London Marathon in April to support her whilst she faces this challenge.”