In the saddle for Rethink Mental Illness
Digital team's blog
Last year Natasha O’Sullivan cycled over 900 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, raising £3,300 for Rethink Mental Illness in the process. She tells us about the journey:
“I heard of Rethink a few years ago, when my brother first experienced psychosis.
The charity has become important to all of us: my brother has been to several groups including games groups and music therapy, which have given him support to socialise. And my parents are both members. So when I wanted to take on a challenge over the summer, I thought of Rethink Mental Illness.
I cycled with my friends Imara and Sam. People ask about our training regime and planning, but I can’t talk much about that as we were winging it a lot!
We only finished our university exams a couple of weeks before setting off, so we read a lot of cycling blogs, booked the cheapest train tickets we could find to Penzance and figured ‘we’ll work it out from there.’
We carried our cooking and camping gear and stayed in tents on the way, cooking big pots of pasta to keep ourselves going.
I set up a just giving page before we set off and was amazed by the generosity of our friends and family.
The ride took us 18 days. It was incredible, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Particularly when it was raining – after we passed Glasgow, we were cycling in the cold and rain every day and putting up a soggy tent at night so we never dried out.
What kept me going was the people we met. Lots of people asked what we were doing and donated money. It also gave us the chance to talk about mental illness.
As a society, we’re getting much better at talking about anxiety and depression, but not about things like schizophrenia and psychosis. It was powerful to have those conversations with people along the way.
If I could tell people one thing, I’d say this: we are very normal people. Not everyone may be able to cycle so far, but we can all push ourselves further than we think. I felt a sense of euphoria when we reached the end. I feel that completing this challenge has given me a new lease of life. I have my finals in May and I’m already thinking about the next challenge I can do after that to raise more money for Rethink!
If you want to get involved with raising some money for Rethink Mental Illness then please head over to our fundraising page.