BTP officer Leon McLeod is running his first marathon to raise money for servicemen and women who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
On April 28, PC McLeod will be among the thousands of runners lining up at the start line for the London Marathon.
After months of training he’ll be in peak condition, but it’ll be a far cry from where his health was following his heroics during the London Bridge terror attack in June 2017.
The BTP officer helped many innocent people caught up in the attack, including his colleague PC Wayne Marques but the experience changed him “beyond comprehension”.
PC McLeod said: “For a long time after the incident I didn’t know anything was wrong.
“I wasn’t looking after myself properly, I wasn’t eating, sleeping or exercising. I threw myself into work and neglected my (now ex) wife and child and really didn’t seek help from the right people soon enough.
“I didn’t sustain the injuries – and worse – that so many did on that night but mentally it’s taken its toll.”
Recognising he needed help, Leon eventually spoke out, first of all to his friends before approaching his supervisors.
“There is still too much of a taboo about asking for help,” he added. “There is somewhat of a macho nature in society and this is also the case in policing, meaning some people feel it’s better to bottle things up and stay quiet. I feel lucky not to be that kind of person.”
Feeling stronger after receiving support, PC McLeod has now turned his efforts to helping others who are experiencing similar challenges by attempting to raise £10,000 for social enterprise PTSD999 through running the London Marathon.
PTSD999 supports all the emergency services and, as well as assessing and treating PTSD, provides trauma response awareness training and psychological health and safety services.
PC McLeod added: ‘”Having struggled with mental health issues of my own in the past 16 months I think it’s vital that people potentially in a similar position know help is out there. I’ve spoken to people from within the blue light services and its shocked me how many people are battling their own demons, often without support.”
You can make a donation to Leon’s fundraiser by going to: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/leon-mcleod.