Do it for Dan – what it’s all about

What is it?
The Do it for Dan fundraising campaign is a year of challenges, mainly physical but also others, aimed to raise awareness of mental health issues and to raise some money for charity along the way. The target will be 12 events over the course of the year but may be more depending on what suggestions are raised.

Why am I doing it?
On 19 January 2014 I lost one of my best friends. After many years battling with anxiety and depression, he decided to take his own life. He had struggled for 15 years but you would never have known if you met him. On the outside he was always happy and was one of the friendliest people that you could ever wish to meet but on the inside he was battling with his mental health.

Depression and anxiety is such a hidden illness as from the outside you wouldn’t know that someone is struggling with it and they get particularly good at hiding it especially from those close to them. When someone can’t see what you are suffering from they tend to have difficulty in understanding it. The other issue with depression is that it’s often very difficult for those who suffer with it to get across just how bad things can get. I have had my own struggles with depression and even though some things may seem trivial to outsiders when the dark cloud comes over it can be very difficult to see a way forward. There is also still an issue with the stigma that goes with mental health issues and it’s not something many people feel comfortable talking about. Putting this with the lack of understanding there is about mental health problems doesn’t make it easy for anyone who is suffering as it’s difficult to know who to talk to about it. One of things that I wanted to come out of this tragedy is to be more open about mental health issues and to try and start breaking down the stigma that is attached to them. There are so many people that are suffering from these terrible diseases in silence that it is time to start bringing these issues into the open so that people will feel more comfortable talking about their mental health and reducing the stigma.

What am I going to do?
On 19 January 2015, I’m going to start a year of completing fund raising events to try and raise money and awareness of mental health issues in Dan’s memory as I’m going to “Do it for Dan”. I’ve set myself a target of £5,000 to raise over the year and hope that with some help from my friends I can exceed the target. The aim is to complete the first event on the first anniversary of Dan’s passing and to finish the last event one year later on the second anniversary. Some of the events that are currently being considered are:

Cycle C2C (Coast to coast)
Cycle the Leeds/Liverpool canal
Cycle Yorkshire Tour de France stage
Complete an Olympic distance triathlon
Complete an off-road triathlon
Trek the Yorkshire three peaks in one day
Trek the three peaks
Run a 10k
Take part in an endurance race
Take part in a Tough Mudder style event
Take part in a Human Race/Rat Race/Survival of the Fittest style event
Skydive
Abseil down a tall building

How you can get involved
If anyone has any other suggestions or ideas, let me know as I’m open to ideas and event suggestions. The idea of the pre-organised events is also to try and get as many people to get involved with me to help get through them and to help with the fundraising. If you want to get involved or want to join me in any of the events, drop me a line to let me know.

Who is it in aid of?
The two charities that I’ve chosen to raise funds for are Mind (www.mind.org.uk the mental health charity) and the Blurt Foundation (www.blurtitout.org who are an online mentoring scheme who offer support for those affected by depression). Links to their websites are above so that you can have a look at the work they do. All of the funds raised will go directly to the two charities (split 50/50) and all entry fees and expenses for any of the events will be funded by myself.

If anyone knows any companies who might want to help out or provide sponsorship, let me know. As events are booked and the plan takes shape there will be further updates so follow this blog so that you can be kept up to date.

There will also be regular updates on training, how you can get involved and the total raised as the year progresses.

Get involved and do it for Dan!

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