Leeds couple are on the run to help PTSD sufferers

Simon Buckden and Louisa Rodriguez
Simon Buckden and Louisa Rodriguez
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A Leeds couple will go on the run to Downing Street to raise awareness of the devastating impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Simon Buckden and his partner Louisa Rodriguez are set to run nearly 200 miles from Leeds to London in a mission to give PTSD sufferers a voice.

Simon, 41, was diagnosed with the condition in 2005 which was triggered by the nightmare scenes of what he witnessed during two tours of Bosnia in the mid-1990s.

The former Royal Signalman from Bramley, Leeds, was medically discharged from the army after nearly 12 years service in 2001.

The pair have made a book containing stories from people across the country who suffer from the condition and they hope to hand a copy to the Prime Minister.

Louisa said: “The stories are very harrowing but inspiring at the same time.

“It is a real honour that people have felt able to share their stories with us, this run is about them and making sure their voices are heard.

“It is time for better awareness of this unseen condition and how it can affect people’s lives.

“It is just heartbreaking but we hope that they will have an impact.”

The pair are set to run between 30 and 40 miles a day as part of the 200-mile challenge.

And once they have been to Downing Street they will then run to the Houses of Parliament to address MPs about the impact of PTSD.

The couple founded Positive Action for PTSD last year and it is the first social enterprise of its kind in the country to offer specialist support to people who suffer from the condition.

Louisa added: “It’s a big challenge but we hope that we can raise awareness down the country.

“The stories keep us motivated and give us the passion to keep going.

“We want to create a national awareness about PTSD and encourage the Government to look at what positive changes can be created to improve things.

“It’s time for change and for people to know about the condition as well as changing the stigma that surrounds it.”

The couple are set to start their challenge on Wednesday and it is expected to take them six days to run to the capital.

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