In case you haven’t already heard, I’m trekking the Great Wall of China in October 2018!
One day, after a few too many coffees, I decided I wanted to raise money for a charity that supported a cause very close to my heart. Cue me throwing down a deposit to trek the Great Wall of China in aid of the Mental Health Foundation.
I’d been looking for something BIG to do for a while. I’d done a 5k for cancer research previously, but all those fun runs just didn’t feel like a big enough gesture for me. I wanted to do something that would raise a ton of money for my chosen cause but also be a life experience I’d never forget! And I’ve certainly ticked those boxes.
Why the Mental Health Foundation?
If you haven’t watched my full mental health story video, I’d advise you have a little look just to get to grips with just how I got to where I am today.
To summarise though, I have had my ups and downs with mental illness over the last 12 years and after a recent relapse into depression, I had to claw my way out of another black hole.
I know you’re supposed to be humble about these kinds of things, but to get yourself out of these dark places is extremely difficult and exhausting and I realised how proud of myself I should be for fighting so hard for so long.
After finally feeling like I’ve found some semblance of balance, both in my life and with my mental health, I decided to take on a challenge that mirrored what I’d already been through these past few years. I wanted to do something massive to book end this chapter of my life and prove to myself that I really am capable of doing anything I set my mind to.
The Mental Health Foundation is an amazing organisation that helps to support those with mental illness. Their passion for bringing awareness and helping people talk about the issue of mental health matched my own perfectly. These guys and Mind, have been a huge help to me in the past. When the NHS failed me (find out more in the video) these types of organisations were there to give me the support and tools I needed to pick myself back up.
What is the trek to the Great Wall of China?
The trek is over 10 days and starts in Bejing. We then walk along the Great Wall of China, clocking up a total of 70km, passing through woodland, farmland and along rocky terrain.
We’ll be staying in a mix of hillside hotels and rural farmers homes, walking for up to 8 hours every day. After already doing a spot of training, I can tell you that walking for 8 hours straight on just one day can be extremely painful!
The trip will see me jet off to China with a small group of other fundraisers, also trekking in aid of the Mental Health Foundation. In order to qualify to go, however, I need to raise £3150 and that’s where you guys come in.
How will I be fundraising over the next few months?
I’ve got a few things planned, a beer pong tournament in one of Manchester’s busiest bars, a few car-boot sales, blogger events and self-compassion talks and blogging/vlogging. So far I have raised just over £400, but I’ve still got a very long way to go!
I’ve got a Justgiving page and you can also text to donate! Simply text CCAT64 and the amount you’d like to donate to 70070.
Once my full training begins in the new year, you’ll be getting a few training vlogs a week, where I’ll be taking you along on my various treks and hikes over the months leading up to the event. I also want to take you with me when I head over to China, so you can experience everything along with me!
What does your money go towards?
You may be wondering what your donation will actually go towards, well, the Mental Health Foundation focuses on providing around the clock support for those who need it most. They can help:
- Children, young people and families
- Provide support for mental health within the workplace
- Supporting those a little later in life with their mental health
- Helping those with learning disabilities and mental illness
- They can help to influence mental health policy
- Provide research into mental health and mental illness
- Promote mindfulness and its many benefits
With such a tiny amount of government funding being put towards the research into mental health and mental illness, organisations like this are crucial. The general public gives an average of £2.75 to cancer research, £1.35 to heart and circulatory issues and yet only 0.3p or 1/3 of a pence goes towards mental health. That’s only 5.5% of research funding that is being put towards mental health.
Your donation will go to helping fund this necessary research, helping the Mental Health Foundation to campaign for and against government policies and help to increase the amount society talks about mental health and remove the stigma surrounding the conversation.
- £5 can help the foundation to create simple but effective tools that are accessible to those that need it most. These include the amazing guides found on their website, which were lifesavers for me during my student years.
- £25 can help them create leaflets and provide accurate information and advice to those in desperate need of help. This amount can also help to provide workshops for those working with patients with dementia in care homes.
- £50 can help them influence the government to keep mental health as one of the top policies on their agenda.
I’m not a very big do-gooder, I don’t really do many fun runs or charity fundraising days, but supporting mental health is something I feel very strongly about. Without these charities and their amazing support, I’m not sure if I’d have made it through everything I went through. With the Mental Health Foundation and Mind offering me the information and advice I needed, when I needed it, I was able to get through a hell of a lot and I want to make sure they can keep doing the amazing work they are currently doing!