For a friend.

Hi team! Today I'm going to be bringing you something slightly different. It's about something I'm doing next month which is really important to me and very close to my heart. I hope you don't mind the little deviation away from my normal pink capitals and exclamation marks style, it would be amazing if you could take 2 minutes to read this.

In September, I will be doing the Three Peaks challenge - an attempt to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon back-to-back within 24 hours.

I would just like to emphasis how insanely hard this will be for me given that I'm going to be with a group of uni friends who are all a lot fitter and less lazy than me. (The most exercise I get is basically running from the sofa to the kitchen when I realise I forgot to set the timer for the garlic bread in the oven.)

Ive bought some hiking shoes, a rucksack - even one of those water bladders which you suck through a pipe - this is the REAL deal for me. But let's be honest, the shopping isn't the hard bit for me is it?

I've got 5 weeks to turn this butter-loving cushion that is my body into a PROTEIN MACHINE (which I imagine would look like Optimus Prime or at least the thing that all the Power Rangers morph into.) I've started walking to work more often and I'm Squat Challenging my thighs into submission.

Why am I putting my body through this?

We will be doing this in honour of our great friend Phil who tragically took his own life last September having fought a hidden battle against depression and anorexia for years. Phil was kind, good natured - there's always that one genuine 'good guy' in any friendship group - and that was Phil for us. He was a real treasure and features in pretty much all of our best "remember when" stories. 

Some, including myself, may question how we didn't notice the warning signs - good friends should have noticed something was wrong right? Good friends should have been there to support him? In truth, as with a lot of mental health illness, there were no such signs. Phil went on a group holiday to Bruges the weekend before and all the photos show a happy guy, having a great time, surrounded by friends. The reality is that mental health issues like depression are never textbook. Each disease is specific to the individual and there are no foolproof ways of spotting and healing such a thing.

Phil knew he had great friends who would do anything for him. He sincerely thanked his friends and family the day that he went missing. My one regret is that he passed away thinking that we were unable to help and that there was no other way.

My reason for doing Three Peaks is in the hope that doing something like this will raise awareness. Not only to the public - that mental health issues can affect anyone without noticeable evidence, but also to any individuals out there suffering from mental health issues - there is always another way.

So we're raising money for Mind, the mental health charity, in a bid to prevent a heartbreaking event like this happening to anyone else. Mind is there to make sure that anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support. 

No one should have to go through the pain of losing a loved one in such a way. More importantly, no one should feel so helpless that they are driven to take their own life - help and support is out there and available.

If you would like to support us, we gratefully accept any donations at our JustGiving page here. Even 5 pounds will help us to reach our target, we really appreciate anything you can spare.

Thank you for reading.


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