On August 17th, I’ll be waking up at the break of dawn to partake in the largest one day adventure race in Europe, with my good friends, Nick Cunningham and Matt Whitely.
Gaelforce West is probably the toughest challenge I’ve ever taken on, both physically and mentally. We’ll be covering 67km of the most demanding terrain on the west coast of Ireland, on foot, by kayak and by bike.
While completing a challenge like this is personally satisfying, it is far more motivating and invigorating to put a true cause behind it. We’re doing Gaelforce West in aid of Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide. Pieta House now has 6 locations in Ireland, with staff of over 80. Last year, over 3,000 people came to Pieta House for help and that number is only growing.
There are many factors that attribute to suicide, and while I cannot speak to them professionally, I can speak to what I’ve experienced and what I see, specifically the pressures and stresses caused by the economic downturn, which have become a heavy weight on a lot of people’s minds, often so heavy that they have no one to turn to. Families who have lost their homes, businesses that have closed and the people who have been made unemployed. Some statistics to put things into perspective,
+ There were 507 suicides registered in 2012.
+ Almost 10 suicides a week
+ Males accounted for 81% of all suicide deaths in 2012.
Suicide is a big problem worldwide. Chances are most people have been affected one way or another by suicide. I have, and it’s something I’ll never forget.
Pieta house relies on charity and fundraising for 90% of their income. Nick and I have set a goal to raise €2,000 to support the time and effort these people give to helping others.