A former soldier from Fairstead is to take on a running challenge to fundraise for a veterans’ mental health charity.
Jason Ward, 28, served in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2009, and left the army the following year, but in 2012, he began experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Charity Combat Stress has since helped Mr Ward cope with the condition, and now he wants to give back to them by completing a fundraising run.
He is set to take on the British 10k run through the streets of London in July next year, but has started his fundraising efforts well in advance in the hope of reaching his £1,000 target.
“I am still receiving treatment from Combat Stress who have helped me with my PTSD and even though they are there for servicemen and veterans, I feel I should be paying them back,” Mr Ward said.
“I’ve been away for treatment for two weeks and I’m going away in January for six weeks for the treatment but it costs the charity a lot, so if I can raise some funds for them – even a small amount – I want to.”
Mr Ward said he has just started getting back into fitness, but has not done much running since 2012, when he completed the Grand East Anglia Run (GEAR) 10k.
He said he wanted to take on the challenge as a thank you to those who have helped him through his more difficult times.
“It has been quite dark, but I am on the road to recovery now. I have two kids but at my lowest point I didn’t care about myself,” he added.
“Combat Stress made me realise that I can get help and there is a way forward.
“I want to raise awareness as well, as there is a massive stigma around mental health.”
Mr Ward said he hopes sharing his story will encourage others in a similar situation to get the help they need.
“I have been quite lucky to get the help when I needed it,” he added.
To donate to the cause, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ward-jason.