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Brave NHS nurse takes on London Marathon despite PTSD from pandemic

Posted on September 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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A resilient ICU nurse is bouncing back as he chooses to run the London Marathon, despite suffering from a PTSD breakdown during his time in the NHS over the course of the pandemic.

The 46-year-old, Joan Laplana, is taking on the challenge of beating the Guinness World Record for the fastest man to finish the marathon whilst dressed in a pint of beer costume.

Despite battling with post-traumatic stress disorder after being diagnosed earlier in the year, Joan is now looking towards a new fight for charity to raise money for the Cavell Trust, who provide support to nurses, midwives, and healthcare assistants.

The father of three gained his passion for running to help with the ongoing anxiety and trauma, but since found himself becoming fitter and no longer requires medication as a result.

Joan spoke about his experiences being an ICU nurse from the last year, saying “People were dying daily from Covid, I used to think to myself, I could potentially get the virus and die.”

With 23 years in the NHS field, he was working as a lead nurse for NHS Digital Transformation before the pandemic, but returned to volunteer in the frontline for both waves, which he described as one of his “proudest moments”.

Continuing, he went on to talk about the most difficult part for him, saying “One of the hardest shifts was probably when I lost a Covid patient, who was the same age as me, with daughters the same age as mine and he had no underlying health conditions”

He added “On paper he should have survived but he didn’t. Just half an hour before he passed away, his daughters told him they loved him on FaceTime.

“I was in pieces, that image stayed with me. I couldn’t even walk into the ward for my next shift the next day, and that is when I knew I needed help.”

In between the first and second wave, he carried on with the NHS Digital Transformation position, which is aimed at improving the delivery of patient care.

As of recent, the NHS nurse decided to take a step back and change his career path to focus on NHS Education as a Project Choice Manager.

With his newfound love of running, he will also be competing in the Sheffield Half Marathon a week before the London one.

To find out more to support Joan’s cause and other healthcare professionals out there, you can visit #Pint4Cavell at