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Michelle Smith strides into March With Me

With March With Me 2017 fast approaching, we’re putting the spotlight on some of our fantastic participants and their stories.

Ballarat local Michelle Smith was introduced to the foundation by long-term friend and veteran walker Audrey Baker.

Inspired by her own experience with mental illness, Michelle signed up for March With Me and has been training ever since.

Sharing her personal experience

Michelle experienced mental illness first hand after her divorce

“After going through a marriage break up and being a single mum, depression has certainly been with me more than once,” said Michelle.

Her loved ones have also been affected in different ways.

“My partner and I have a blended family and two of our children have been touched by mental health issues, and one of my closest friends is bipolar and suffers post traumatic stress syndrome,” she said.

Michelle believes strongly in the messages that Love Me Love You promote and extends these when caring for her children.

“The foundation’s motto is ‘No one walks their journey alone’ which is something we practice with our children; we regularly check in to make sure they’re in a good place but we’re also conscious of not overcrowding them and allowing them to work through whatever it is they’re going through.

“The most important thing is letting them know that we’re here if they need us,” said Michelle.

Training in Ballarat

With the walk extending 116kms, Michelle is well aware of the mental and physical challenge that lies ahead. Her training schedule sees her walking 20-30kms each day around Ballarat, utilising the walking path surrounding Lake Wendouree.

“People think I’m silly and crazy but you have to be to do this walk, you have to have a bit of crazy,” said Michelle.

Gaining strength and so much more

Michelle has joined forces with three other Ballarat participants Rachel, Paul and Andrea to raise funds for March With Me through fundraising events, most recently a night at the Trots. The night was a stellar success with the group selling 150 tickets, as well as hosting raffles and silent auctions on the night.

The group had hoped to raise $2,000 but are currently sitting just over $6,000.

An inspiring effort!

With the walk less than two weeks away, Michelle is anticipating the atmosphere and the inspiring stories that she will hear as the kilometers tick past and muscles begin to ache.

“I’m also looking forward to the friendships and comradery that will grow along the way, as we all walk together.”

If you would like to donate to Michelle and her team members, please visit https://marchwithme2017.everydayhero.com/au/team-stumblingin.