I often collapse but I’ll make my family proud
SCARED, anxious and afraid, RAF veteran Michelle Turner wouldn’t leave her house out of fear of collapsing in the street.
Suffering from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a condition that randomly raises her heart rate above 200bpm and causes her to collapse, the thought of representing her nation at the Invictus Games could hardly have seemed more distant.
But this month, the 39-yearold will vice-captain Team UK’s squad at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, a decision that moved the Burscough swimmer and indoor rower to tears.
“It’s an absolute dream. I went to Toronto for the Games last year, but it didn’t go well,” said Turner, speaking at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, where competitors had the opportunity to be selected to represent their nation in the event in Sydney.
“I ended up in hospital and it didn’t go to plan. I suppose that’s why we are all here because our life hasn’t gone to plan.
“With my condition I don’t get any warnings, so by 100 collapses I was done. I became this mummy that was sick of going out and tired of waking up on the floor.
“I thought I was going to still be an amazing mummy, but I am going to be an amazing mummy at home.
“We got an email from Invictus Games and I thought I can’t do sport any more. But I do now, and I do all these sports that I never thought I could do again. “I went to the captain’s interview and I remember driving home with my husband and they said, ‘would you do us the honour of being our vice-captain,’ and we both burst out crying.” Determined to make her sevenyear-old daughter, Maya, proud, the former RAF Sergeant enlisted in last year’s Invictus Games in Toronto, but was admitted to hospital before she could swim.
Proud to be amongst military personnel once again, the Invictus Games veteran has been honoured to meet fellow ex-service people and listen to their incredible stories.
And after meeting Prince Harry last year, Turner has unfinished business when she heads to Sydney where her husband, mum and daughter will all be cheering her on from the stands.
“I love being back with military people again. Nothing changes, people’s legs don’t grow back, I don’t stop collapsing, but it just gives you the confidence to carry on anyway,” she added.
“I am so excited to go. I am nervous to go, I am feeling nervous, happy, scared, everything. I am so proud, and I can’t wait to walk out with these guys.
“I started this whole process to make my little girl proud of me again.
“I collapsed one day, she was only four and she dialled 999 and saved me.
“She was doing all these things to make me proud and I want to make her proud as well. Hopefully I will do that.”
Jaguar Land Rover is the Presenting Partner of the Invictus Games, which takes place in Sydney, Australia from the 20th to 27th of October 2018. Jaguar Land Rover is using this year’s Invictus Games to lead and inform the debate on future mobility, and how its future technology could help people’s lives.