A Ballycarry man will harness pedal power on a 1,200km fundraising trip for PIPS Larne which will also raising young peoples’ awareness of suicide.
Local man Peter Christian will cycle from Dublin to Cookstown and back again as part of the Cycle Against Suicide, which aims to “break the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland.”
During at towns along the route, representatives from the organisation visit local schools to raise awareness of mental health.
Peter told the Times: “Cycle Against Suicide was founded by businessman Jim Breen after one of his employees took his own life, and he realised that while there are local organisations in different towns doing a great job they weren’t talking to each other.
“Jim’s vision was that Cycle Against Suicide would eventually visit every school in Ireland to give a talk.”
Jim decided to fundraise for PIPS Larne after hearing a speech on the organisation’s work by Alderman Maureen Morrow.
“The purpose of the Cycle Against Suicide is to get the word out that it’s ok to talk about mental health under the organisation’s slogan “It’s ok not to feel ok; and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help.
“We have such a problem in Ireland and Northern Ireland with suicide and mental health, and even one death is one too many. Around 800 people take their own lives across ireland every year.
“In the schools the talks are given by a mixture of people doing the race who have been affected by suicide or sometimes specialists. We want to tell the kids that if they’re not feeling great to speak up rather than burying it.”
Peter admits that the challenge ahead is daunting.
“We are cycling in excess of the equivalent of two marathons a day,” he explained.
“Eddie Izzard is doing 27 marathons in 27 days, but we will be doing the equivalent of 28 marathons in 14 days. It’s scary, but the thought of fundraising for PIPS Larne is spurring me on!”
Chair of PIPS Larne Carlee Letson said: “I would like to thank Peter for his efforts and wish him luck with the cycle. More and more people are starting to do fundraising events for us, which is brilliant. We are East Coast Athletics’ chosen charity for this year, we are one of the Ultimate Car Show’s chosen charities, and Henry Campbell raised £1075 in a quiz in aid of a late friend. I would like to thank them all.”
To donate to Peter’s fundraising, visit Pete’s cycleagainstsuicide page on Justgiving.