"Never in a million years did I think I'd be employed like this again. But Help for Heroes and the Invictus Games gave me the confidence and courage to carry on regardless of illness or injury."
Long before the lockdown began RAF veteran Michelle Turner knew what it was like to be isolated at home. Contracting a life-changing virus whilst deployed in Bahrain, she became afraid to leave the house.
Diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Michelle suffers from abnormal increases in heart rate, dizziness, and fainting.
The condition led to her medical discharge. And with a fear of collapsing in public, she became a prisoner within her own four walls. Michelle’s independence was further restricted when she collapsed at home.
Saved by her four-year-old daughter, who called 999, Michelle’s family became her carers.
Then, in 2016, Michelle visited our Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick. It was her first time away from home alone. Within weeks of her visit Michelle developed enough confidence to take part in the recovery centre's fashion show.
The experience gave her the courage to apply for 2017’s Invictus Games. When she first entered the training room, Michelle described herself as a ‘broken girl’.
“I was a far cry from the strong, confident RAF Sergeant I was before I became ill. Slowly but surely, I remembered the girl I once was. My symptoms have not changed, but my mindset and confidence have dramatically increased."
Thanks to your ongoing support, today, Michelle has two Invictus Games under her belt. She's also started a new job at BAE Systems - helping to build the fighter jets she once saw in action.
“Never in a million years did I think I'd be employed like this again. But Help for Heroes and the Invictus Games gave me the confidence and courage to carry on regardless of illness or injury.”
As Armed Forces Day approaches, show your support for those who give our nation their all. In these uncertain times there are many more like Michelle who desperately need support. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of requests for help and a 50 per cent increase in the number of veterans who feel they are not managing their mental health well.
They, and their families, need your help now more than ever.
Together, we can help them regain their strength. Together we are stronger.