It’s only the second time we’ve run the challenge, and as far as we’re aware, it’s only the second time anyone has ever done a mile of swings. (please correct me if I’m wrong)
On the day, 9 of my most dedicated members joined me on the track to take on the mile. All made me proud and all put in an awesome effort. We were supported in no small way by Ireland’s Strongest Man, a man I’m proud to call a friend to Wild Geese, Mr James Fennelly. James brought with him his coach, former Olympic high jumper Adrian O’Dwyer.
What an honour to have these two incredible athletes at my side as we walked the track.
Of course Paul Cox, the head of Wild Geese Martial Arts was also present as was Dave G, our Thai coach and the man who steps in for me when I’m away.
The whole thing was to raise funds and awareness for the RehabCare HOPS centre, which is just around the corner from WG HQ. It’s a centre dedicated to Mental Health and helping those with illness back to health. I’ve been fortunate enough to work closely with the guys in the centre for the last couple of years and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to use my skills to raise cash for them. When the WG crew also get on board to help as well as friends from, not just around the country, but across the world (thanks Facebook for making this possible) also get involved it makes the whole event truly awesome.
So far we have raised over €4000, and more is coming in. On our MyCharity page we have collected €1750 and we have approximately €2500 in cash donations, raffle ticket sales and more. The MyCharity page will remain open for another month so please keep the donations coming in.
This photo was uploaded to facebook after the event:
Yup, they’re my hands, thats real blood.
One comment on the photo was someone asking “Was it worth it?”
Here’s why it was worth it:
We raised over €4k and will most likely smash our €5k target in the next few weeks. This money will go directly to the guys that use the centre, every cent of it will directly benefit the guys. There will be new computers bought, day trips, courses and a whole range of opportunities open to them that they may not have had otherwise.
My physical effort, and that of the guys who took part with me, is only a tiny fraction of the struggle these guys face on a daily basis. My visible, physical injuries are nothing compared to their invisible injuries. In a week or two there will be no trace of the challenge left on my body, only this photo will stand as evidence, yet the guys will still have their issues 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
My actions on the track helps to inspire the guys, it shows them that there are a few of us willing to help. Mental Health and indeed Mental Illness is extremely misunderstood and the topic is so often brushed under the carpet. If I can use my position as respected coach to raise awareness, if I can use my physical prowess and my mental strength to raise cash, raise awareness and also inspire. Then yes it is worth it.
As I went around the track I heard many of the guys from the centre cheering, shouting and chanting encouragement. I was never alone on the track. Many of the guys have issues with public displays, yet on the day, they come out of themselves, they really got behind something. Being enthusiastic about anything becomes a nightmare when you’re struggling with depression and low self esteem, yet on the day they all got excited and roared their hearts out in support.
If this small act inspires just one of them to put their mind to something greater, to push their own limits and boundaries, then that’s worth more than any amount of cash raised or skin lost.
So was it worth it?
Here’s the MyCharity page link again: http://www.mycharity.ie/event/dave_hedgess_event You have to the end of September to donate online, but you have every day of you your life to donate time or money in person.
On Saturday my guys made a difference.