TRAVELLING far and wide, ticking some of the most sought-after destinations off her bucket list is Tia Thomas - and she says she owes it all to Teamwork Trust.
The 34 year-old was among only a select few from a staggering 50,000 applicants to become a Virgin Atlantic cabin crew member in 2017. San Francisco, Miami, the Caribbean are among the exotic countries she regularly flies to and she has many more she wants to visit.
However, just three years ago things were very different for Tia. Having suffered with depression for many years she had a relapse and was placed under her hospital's critical care team. She had hit rock bottom so her doctor suggested counselling which was when Tia researched and emailed agencies across Northamptonshire.
"The only organisation to come straight back to me was Teamwork Trust," said Tia. "I hadn't even heard about the charity before but they changed my life forever and gave me a new focus."
Tia had weekly counselling sessions, slowly started to feel stronger and, after several months, when the counselling came to a natural end, Tia's counsellor suggested volunteering.
"I had a high-powered job as a lettings manager for a residential firm when I first started my counselling," said Tia. "I kept my depression a secret but as my counselling evolved I knew it wasn't a lifestyle or career I could sustain. I eventually left my job, faced up to how I felt and started volunteering at Teamwork Trust.
"I suddenly felt wanted and like I had something to give. Working with the charity's members has been incredible."
Tia's goal, even as a child, was to work for Virgin Atlantic.
"It was a new year so I felt I should strive for a new start, especially with everything I had been through," said Tia. "I took a risk and applied for my dream job. I was prepared for failure but kept getting through each round. Then I got through to the final 30, was told that two people would be successful but of course knew it wouldn't be me."
But it was and now Tia pursuing her dream career.
"My job is everything I wanted and more. I had always been frustrated by a lack of travel in the past but now I get to work and travel and still come home to spend time with my daughter who is five. She even comes with me from time to time and the crew make her feel like a superstar on board. I have made friends all over the world too who I get to visit," said Tia.
"I never take anything for granted - I appreciate everything in my life. There were days when I couldn't even get out of bed to open the curtains but now I live an independent life, meeting people, travelling and all while pursuing my dream career. The coping techniques I learnt through my counselling with Teamwork I still use on a daily basis and I never underestimate how much they help me control my depression. When I have a down moment nowadays I know it won't last. I have so much in my life to be grateful for and Teamwork Trust helped me realise that."
"I am absolutely passionate about the charity and fully intend to keep volunteering for them. They are like family now. Nothing will keep me away."
Find out more at www.teamworktrust.co.uk