Irene’s London Marathon volunteering story

Irene explains why she volunteered for Heads Together at the 2018 London Marathon and what she thought of the experience.

My name is Irene. I’m from Uruguay and I moved to London with my husband one and a half years ago.

When The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex launched the Heads Together campaign, I was still living in Uruguay. Being someone who has suffered from mental health issues since I was very young – anxiety, panic attacks, depression – and also someone who admires TRH very much, I found the initiative amazing and it was kind of a safe place for me along with my incredible support system I had at home; my husband and my friends.

Even though I could only reach it through internet and social media, seeing others talking so openly and sharing their experiences was really helpful and inspiring. It was so refreshing to see that the conversation started changing somewhere in the world and that having mental health issues wasn’t considered a sign of weakness anymore, but a sign of strength.

When my husband and I moved here and I saw the social media post looking for volunteers to cheer for Team Heads Together during the London Marathon, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be part of the volunteering team. I couldn’t believe I was given the chance to give back in a very small way for all the support I received despite the distance during years that were particularly difficult for me.

The experience was unforgettable! Everyone was so amazing, positive and welcoming and standing there with my T-shirt and headband, “officially” part of the team, cheering and supporting those taking part in the marathon was priceless and so rewarding!

Cheering and supporting those taking part in the marathon was priceless and so rewarding!

I encourage everyone to take part in this amazing experience and to be part of something that is helping so many people – children and adults – not only in the UK but around the world. I’m proof of that! Don’t be afraid to go alone, I went alone and I felt so welcomed by everybody. I was so happy and proud to be there cheering and supporting people I never met, but with whom I share something very important; the strength and the will to try to keep going during difficult times and to be able to talk about it to help us and to help others. Let’s help keep the conversation going!

Sign up to volunteer for Heads Together at the 2019 London Marathon here.