Robin and Stewart are travelling and visiting family in Europe for the next few weeks while training for the Marathon and spreading the word about PTSD awareness.
This week has seen us onto Stewart’s family home of Coningsby, in Lincolnshire England. We’ve gone from busy Parisian city streets to lovely British countryside – and from French cheese to British biscuits – a love for which I can now safely say runs in Stewart’s family. Our runs have gone from manicured city parks to cow fields that meander along country canals… I’m not sure which we prefer more! The weather and the livestock have treated us favorably and we have both gotten some miles in without being chased away by rain or angry bovines. Stewart has been running longer distances of late, motivated, I think, by the surroundings of his youth and memories of his army days, which has brought him a renewed sense of vigor.
We’ve also been motivated by the support we’ve received so far, both from family here in England, and friends new and old with whom we’ve shared our story and our thoughts on Veteran issues and PTSD. We do hope that the interest and encouragement translates into donations.
However, the experience in itself so far has been humbling and heart-warming. I was recently at a work-related conference where I was amazed to find that colleagues were interested and involved in raising awareness and money for various Veteran causes in the United States. The resulting conversation about our similar activities and interests outside of work was enlightening and motivating, and I came away with renewed excitement and a cheering squad from an unexpected crowd. While enjoying the best dinner of our stay at Paris (quick recommendation for “Le Maison Rose” in Montmartre) we had the pleasure of meeting a lovely British couple and the ensuing wine-fuelled conversation among cobble-stones and candle-light turned to our project and the common issues felt by Stewart, the family of our new friends, and thousands more Veterans that walk amongst us every day. Thank you for your support and encouragement John and Gillian.
My point is this: As we set out on this project, Stewart and I are finding that the more times we strike up a conversation about Veterans’ issues and PTSD… the more often we share our thoughts and passions about this little thing that we are doing – the more it grows; the more people we meet that are affected by PTSD and Combat Stress, the more encouragement we receive from people that morph from strangers to friends, the more we realize how big (and international) an issue this is that we’ve become involved in, the more we are convinced that these issues need to be brought to the forefront of military discussions… And the more we are motivated, in our little way, to keep telling people what we are doing and why – and asking for support.
We’ll be taking our running shoes and our story to London next – staying at the Union Jack Club (a club for former and current British soldiers) and taking in the culture, military history, and a few ales… where I am sure our motivation will develop even more.
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