Wiltshire fundraiser to run the London Marathon in memory of Afghanistan veteran

A fundraiser from Wiltshire will take part in the London Marathon this year in aid of Combat Stress, after they helped her friend’s son, Marc, before he sadly passed away from a heart condition last year.

Catherine Parfitt decided to support the veterans’ mental health charity after they helped Marc, who had post-traumatic stress disorder following tours of Afghanistan.

Catherine said “Marc was really struggling with his mental health and Combat Stress supported him. If he was still here he would be wanting to raise money to support their work. I want to be able to give something back for everything Combat Stress did for him. Marc was able to make progress with his PTSD through their unwavering support.  He made great friends though the charity also.”

The marathon will also be a personal challenge for Catherine having suffered a stroke in 2009 and having major surgery in 2012 and 2017. Supported by her husband and children she believes anything is achievable.

“I was determined that I would not let my stroke or my operations hold me back. I have completed numerous physio sessions and through sheer grit and determination I ran my first marathon in 2016.  I raised money for Combat Stress and two other charities.  After that marathon I told myself I’d never do another one, but after Marc passed away I felt I had to do something. I asked Marc’s parents and they have been hugely supportive. Many people face far worse in their lives than running 26.2 miles!

“My mantra is ‘I can, I will and I’m going to”

Robert Marsh, Director Income Generation at Combat Stress said;

“We’re so grateful to Catherine for running the London Marathon in aid of Combat Stress.

“It’s so great to hear how the support from Combat Stress helped Marc. Each year we receive 2,000 referrals from veterans dealing with issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Without amazing fundraisers, like Catherine, we wouldn’t be able to continue to provide this life changing treatment.”

To sponsor Catherine please visit her fundraising page.


Notes to editors:

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.

For almost a century we’ve helped former servicemen and women deal with issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Over the past five years (2012 to 2017) we have seen an average of more than 2,000 referrals each year. Demand for our services continues to grow – we have seen a 143% increase in referrals from ten years ago.

On average it takes 12 years after leaving the military for veterans to contact Combat Stress for help, by which time their condition is often highly complex. However, veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are coming to Combat Stress much sooner (three and four years respectively).

To help veterans rebuild their lives, we provide a range of free services:

  • Short-stay clinical treatment at our treatment centres
  • A specialist Intensive Treatment Programme – delivered at our treatment centres
  • Community Teams – providing treatment and practical support to veterans. Last year our regional community teams undertook almost 5,400 face-to-face appointments
  • Outpatients – assessment by psychiatrists and psychologists – at our treatment centres and in the community – enables us to diagnose, define and deliver the treatment veterans require
  • Occupational therapy – delivered at our treatment centres and in the community, we use meaningful and creative activity to encourage hope, wellbeing and recovery
  • Peer Support Service – Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The service enables them to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others with similar experiences.
  • Substance Misuse Case Management Service – helping veterans to access the services for their drug and alcohol problems so their mental health issues can be addressed
  • Our 24-hour Helpline is there for veterans, serving personnel and their families (0800 138 1619)

Useful links

Our website: combatstress.org.uk
On Twitter: @CombatStress
On Facebook: facebook.com/CombatStress
On LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/combat-stress



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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here