Sunrise to Sunset challenge raises over £5000 for mental health charities
Back in February Deaglan McErlean from Bellaghy, Eoghan Kennedy from Rasharkin, Anthony McGill from Lavey, Ryan Bennett from Portadown, Martin O’Neill from Bellaghy and Michael Scullin from Portglenone decided to take on a challenge during their mid-term break. They chose to race against the sun from the North Cost to one of the most southernly points on the island in Co.Cork with the aim of encouraging men to be open about their mental health.
The friends set off separately from Portmuck, Ballycastle and Moville taking different routes with the rules including no motorways or speeding. The group used a combination of maps, phone technology and sat nav to travel more than 9 hours covering 280 miles to reach the finishing point in Crookhaven, Co. Cork. The men took on a number of exciting mental health focused challenges throughout including asking someone for help and helping someone else!
Anthony, a teacher at St. Pius X College, Magherafelt said, ‘We all went to New York together and booked the flights at different times. I decided that morning that we would make a video, ‘Race to New York’. Our friends and family watched the video on social media seemed to love it we decided it would be great to do something similar for charity over mid-term.
‘Men’s mental is very relevant to us with mental health in schools sometimes forgotten. As teachers we see it daily in a school setting and we see that mental health affects not just fully-grown men, it’s coming into children’s lives as well. We recognise in Northern Ireland it's an increasing problem at the minute but there's school programmes such as the Mood Matters course run by AWARE that can really help make a difference.
"We want to show that it's OK to have an open conversation with your mate without feeling awkward. We're shared our conversations along the way on social media that has brought us closer together. There's a range of tips and things you can do to improve your mental health on our Instagram page (click here) that we hope will help someone. “
Following on from the challenge the group raised over £5000 for both AWARE and PIPS. The funds raised will make a huge difference to those in Northern Ireland living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Want to find out who won the challenge? Grab a cuppa and check out this video blog from the day, click here.
You can still donate to the groups fundraising page by clicking here .
If you are interested in fundraising for AWARE please email firstname.lastname@example.org