Wigan dad to run half-marathon to raise funds and awareness for charity aiding families with young children

A Wigan dad-of-three will be taking on the Great Manchester half-marathon to raise funds for a charity supporting young families after his own personal mental health struggles.

By Holly Pritchard
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Oliver Wood, a 34-year-old external operative at Wigan Infirmary, will run the 13.1 miles on Sunday May 22, to raise awareness for Home-Start, a not-for-profit organisation that helps families with children going through challenging times.

He began volunteering for the charity following his battle with severe anxiety and depression, which led him to almost take his own life three years ago.

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Oliver Wood with his wife, Gemma and their children.

Oliver said: "Because of my experience, I listen to families and give advice, I’m the person that they can talk to who will listen to them.

“I’ve suffered from my mental health ever since being in high school, I was severely bullied and that experience stayed with me.

“I started working in childcare in 2014, but my mental health took a turn for the worse following managerial changes at work.“I tried to speak with my boss I wasn’t supported.“It was a horrible situation to be in.“It got so bad that I even seriously contemplated attempting suicide because I felt it was a way out of it without letting anybody down.”

Finally, Oliver confided in his wife, Gemma, who stepped in to support him and encouraged him to leave the job.

Oliver playing football in his Latics shirt.

Oliver said: “My family showed me how much I was loved and supported.

"I went to get help from the doctors who diagnosed me with severe anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.”

Oliver has never taken part in a run before, but decided it was time when Home-Start sent an email to its volunteers asking if anyone wanted to take part in the Great Manchester Run to raise funds for the charity.

He said: “It was so nerve-wracking replying to the email because I’d never done anything like this before.“Running really helps my mental health.“I cant’ wait for the day, my whole family will be there to support me and it will be a really emotional victory for me, especially when I look back at how far I’ve come.”

You can sponser Oliver via his Just Giving page.

The Greater Manchester run is for everybody.

For more information or to enter the event visit greatrun.org/Manchester.