On 3 October 2021, Charlene Steele made her big brother and ex-PARA Kirk McLaughlin proud, as she took part in the Virgin Money London Marathon in his memory.
Kirk joined 3 PARA in 2003 in what Charlene describes as one of the best days of his life. He went on to complete two tours (Northern Ireland and Afghanistan) before sustaining a hip injury during a jump, which led to him being medically discharged. Kirk also suffered from PTSD and bipolar disorder, and without the Army, his illness got worse and he became lost.
Charlene says, “He served for Queen and country for 12 years, he had friendships and love. But when Kirk was on civi street, he suffered; he found it hard to communicate with the outside world, he found it hard to trust and we as a family saw his daily struggles, not just mentally, but also physically. It broke my heart to watch; he couldn’t carry the pain no more, he wanted to be free and wanted to spread his wings.”
“I never thought about running the marathon, but when I see first hand the work that SUPPORT OUR PARAS do, I wrote to them explaining why I would love to run the London Marathon for them. I am truly grateful they have given me the opportunity to fulfil it, so if you can find it in your hearts and help me along the way.”
We are very proud that Charlene ran for us this year. Her fundraising page raised over £3,000 with Gift Aid, which is amazing.