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Carrying the Weight of PTSD to Raise Awareness and Support

 

For more than 20 years, Diana Woolf knew her calling was to help others. She has been a firefighter in volunteer, part-time and career departments. Currently, she proudly serves the Village of Highland Hills, Ohio, as a firefighter-paramedic.

Like many people in the fire service, the gravity of what she has seen and experienced lingered with her, leading to a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 2009, Diana began competing in off-road trail races and triathlons to deal with her PTSD symptoms and found great healing in the sport. Since her first race she has completed over 50 triathlons, including 7 half distance and 3 full distance Ironman triathlons consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile marathon.

Diana wants to help firefighters recognize symptoms and access resources to help manage job-related psychological and emotional stress that can result in PTSD. She created Rescue4PTSD to raise awareness of this critical issue, as well as raise funds for the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation (NFFF) to support Firefighter Life Safety Initiative #13, Psychological Support.

To draw attention to the cause, Diana is participating in several Ironman events while wearing full turnout gear. On June 10th, she completed the Ironman Boulder Triathlon and will participate in the Ironman Santa Rosa 70.3 on July 28th as a featured athlete at Hoka’s First Responder Thank You Day, and the Ironman Louisville October 14th. On July 29th, she will join other Ironman Foundation athletes to help build temporary housing for residents who have lost everything from the wildland fires.

“Diana’s story and her extraordinary efforts to address the behavioral health concerns of the fire service should be an inspiration to all of us,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director. “We are grateful that Diana has chosen the NFFF as her charity of choice.”

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