Thursday 18 February 2016

The Trek of a Lifetime

Sam Image

I first heard about Emmaus whilst going through the distress of losing my brother Jack last year. It was awful having to witness first-hand the impact that drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness can have on a loved one.

He fought a brave battle, spanning 15 years, but unfortunately died aged 29 on Sunday the 27th December 2015. My brother saw Emmaus as an ideal opportunity to continue his fight, living and working in a community, in a supporting environment. Unfortunately Jack died before he was able to join Emmaus.

Despite his difficulties, I felt Jack was a prime example of somebody who had fallen into the web of unsatisfactory care available to those battling mental illness. Mental illness can affect anybody in society, regardless of their background.  Jack, for example, was a former grammar school pupil and talented athlete. I think greater consideration should be given to the support structure available to those suffering from mental illness. Emmaus goes a long way towards breaking down these barriers, but needs the support more than ever if it is to continue providing supportive environments for companions.

Given the relationship that Jack had developed with Emmaus, I felt compelled to act. I wanted to support the charity in a way that will help others in his situation. The Mount Everest Trek felt natural, due to the fact that I firmly believe that at some point in life, everyone will have to climb their own Everest in one shape or form.

I know this challenge will be really difficult, and I’ll need to draw upon all my skills from my job as a strength and conditioning coach. Training is going well so far, and is putting me in the best shape ahead of the 120km journey from the village of Lukla to the base camp of Mount Everest, and back. I cannot wait to test myself, for Jack.

We’ve held a number of fundraising events already and hope to raise as much as possible in Jack’s memory and for Emmaus in the process. Alongside the Everest trek my Dad is taking part in a 10k run and we are due to hold a charity auction on 20th February, as well as putting on a race night with my rugby team mates, which will hopefully raise a huge amount of money for our cause.

I’ve set up a Crowdfunder page, and it would be amazing if you could spare a few minutes to check it out, learn more about Jack and donate to the fund. You can also find out more on our Facebook page.

Commenting is now closed on this article.