Helen’s running challenge cause

Helen Salmon of Hethel, who is going to run twelve marathons in a year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Helen Salmon of Hethel, who is going to run twelve marathons in a year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

A Hethel woman plans to run 12 marathons in 12 months to raise money and awareness for Samaritans, a charity that is close to her heart.

Helen Salmon, 49, has volunteered at the charity's Norwich branch for eight years after suffering from depression.

Mrs Salmon said: 'I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 2002 but it had started before then. I was very poorly and in 2003 I started to get really depressed.

'I never even thought to ring the Samaritans and wasn't aware of it. What eventually helped me was running. When I got well someone mentioned about volunteering with them.'

The former chartered accountant, who trained as psychotherapeutic counsellor after her depression, used running as part of her rehabilitation from depression and was persuaded by a friend to run the Race for Life in 2005.

'I ran the Loch Ness marathon in October 2007 and it was amazing to do that being so poorly. I just smiled the whole way round,' said the mother of one who lives with her daughter and husband Paul.

She is also running the marathons to celebrate the Norwich Samaritans 50th anniversary this year, and her own 50th birthday which is a few weeks after she finishes her final marathon.

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'I have a £20,000 target and I know it's ridiculous and a mad sum but I felt just go out there. I've never felt so strongly about something as I do with Samaritans.'

She stressed the importance of the Samaritans which offers emotional support 24 hours a day.

'I would encourage anyone who has spare time to volunteer for Samaritans. I often reflect on a close friend's suicide and wonder if calling the Samaritans would have made a difference to her.

'We talk about the dark and scary stuff that some people might not want to talk about. It isn't simply if you have no one to talk to, it's if you feel like you don't want to burden people.

'If you have a chance to talk about how you feel it can help.'

To donate to Helen's page, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/helensalmon1

For more information about Samaritans or how to volunteer, visit http://www.samaritans.org/ or call 08705 62 72 82

Are you raising money for charity? Email dma.news@archant.co.uk