The 13 vehicle procession of The Lightning Bolt 2 Convoy rumbled into the Sovereign Hill carpark at around midday on Saturday as part of the world’s largest post traumatic stress (PTS) awareness event.
Former NSW police officer Leanne Fawcett has been travelling with the convoy looking to help raise awareness for PTS.
“I have PTSD, so that was part of my motivation to be a part of this convoy,” she said.
Mrs Fawcett talked through the importance of raising awareness and destroying the stigma behind PTS.
“I can't express how important it is, we need to have conversations and people need to know that you can have a mental illness, but it doesn't define you, you are not the mental illness.”
Her sentiments were echoed by English military veteran Gemma Morgan, who has also been travelling with the convoy.
“I was diagnosed with PTSD about 20 years ago after leaving the service,” she said.
“I hid it initially because of the fear attached with mental illness, which only compounded the issue as I got older.”
Ms Morgan’s disorder restricted her emotionally, causing her to isolate herself and become quite difficult to be around.
“I completely separated myself from the military community, which left me to create my own narrative that I was feeling this way because I wasn’t good enough, and left me with feelings of shame, of embarrassment.”
The convoy’s journey will conclude in Sydney in the 20 October for the Invictus Games.
These games give those within the military who have struggled with mental and physical disabilities to compete, while flying the flag of mental health awareness.
It was the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida that acted as the catalyst for Ms Morgan to reconnect with the military community.
“It was without a doubt the most inspiration things that I have ever experienced. It gave me the ability to regain the sense of belonging and acceptance.”
Speaking with Lieutenant Ryan Kelly, he said the convoy had received tremendous community support over their journey.
“The community has been great,” he said.
“Having our vehicles here gives them something to do and look at while we can teach them about mental health.”
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