To celebrate the amazing fundraisers who donate to us every year, we're shining the spotlight on each and every one of them and this month we have Claire Coulthard.

Not only has Claire raised money for us over the last year, she also volunteers for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind as an Anti-stigma volunteer. 

Since she joined in May 2017 Claire has been an advocate for raising awareness of mental health through sport and exercise. She champions the whole healthy body, healthy mind attitude and since running every day in January she has gone onto completing half marathons and will take on the Great North Run on Sunday 9 September 2018.

Her efforts have been recognised this year and she was hand selected as Local Hero through the Great North Run.

She is part of a group of people who are everyday heroes, who give back to their communities and inspire those around them with their dedication and perseverance. Claire is the definition of this. 

In her spare time she also runs Red Balloons, a peer support group to help people with mental health issues through exercise.

Her group, Red Balloons started in February 2018 and has grown to help more than 600 people online, while Claire leads sessions to around ten people weekly face to face, with that number expected to grow.

“I suffered with mental health issues for a lot longer than I realised as a teenager. It came out a lot more when I had my daughter. I was 19 and I suffered badly with post natal depression. It wasn't talked about then, I was a young mam and I wouldn't dare tell anyone I was suffering because you think everyone's going to take your baby off you.

“If I hadn't found exercise, I really don't know where I would be. If I didn't have that community or that sense of purpose I think my journey would have been very different. I would have probably struggled a lot more.

“Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind gave me the confidence to speak out and the confidence to realise I was worth something. I realised I could put the two together, so help people with mental health the way that I've been helped, and I started volunteering for them. I started raising money, I did a 10K, I did my first half marathon last year, it progressed from there".

Claire has given a lot back to her community as well as Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind.

Through September we will be sharing Claire's story and cheering her on when she completes the Great North Run.

Would you like to become our Fundraiser of the Month? Find out ways in which you can here.