I of­ten col­lapse but I’ll make my fam­ily proud

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Celebrations - BY DAVID PAR­SONS

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.

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