(Blog written by local business person, Mark Smith)
As many of you will already know, 2018 was a difficult year…a year in which I was told I might have three-years to live, followed by extensive diagnostic health checks, regular specialist consultant’s visits, cancelled operations, learning how to cope with insulin dependence and eventually a lung biopsy to confirm a long-term inflammatory lung disease requiring ongoing steroids and, this year, powerful immuno-suppressants that are also used in chemotherapy treatments. My mother’s untimely death hardly helped the year along!
This year I’ve been offered an opportunity of a lifetime – so, I’m undertaking a sponsored 80km trek to Angkor Wat in Cambodia to raise money for Mental Health UK, Lloyds Bank’s chosen charity. So, why would an insulin-dependent diabetic with only two thirds lung capacity want to take on such a physical challenge, in oppressive heat of 35°c and saturating humidity of over 80%?
It’s all about saying ‘thank you’ to the community that supported me and kept me going through the ups and downs of 2018. Of course, the support from friends and family is invaluable at times like these but I had more, much more. I experienced surprising and very welcome support from my networks of clients, colleagues, professional partners. People who would regularly pick up the phone or drop me an email and simply ask…‘I was just thinking of you, how are you doing?’…and still do!
So the challenge I’ve set myself is to pay-back to everyone who provided that invaluable support network. It’s my way of saying thank you to a fantastic business community.
I want to make a difference in 3 ways:-
- I’d like the business community to be increasingly capable of supporting people experiencing mental health issues; by being more effective and efficient at spotting issues and hopefully preventing them from developing into something more serious.
- I’d like everyone in my business community to be able to say “Yes, I’ve got something out of this for myself, for my team and for my business.”
- Raising £25,000 for a truly worthwhile and practical charity – Mental Health UK so that they can support many others going through difficult times with mental health issues.
So I invite you all to get involved with me. This might be by attending one of my fundraising events, being one of my corporate sponsors or by coming along to one of our mental health awareness seminars and hearing from expert speakers on mental health issues.
Look out for regular updates on these events as the year progresses, culminating in my trek to Cambodia as part of a team of 70 Lloyds bank staff during the rainy season in October!
So, can I encourage you, please, to give generously to a cause that at some stage in our lives we all may need to rely on to support our family, friends, or even ourselves.
Whatever amount you might choose to donate, you have my heartfelt appreciation. Donations can be made most easily through my Just Giving page or, if preferred, by cheque made payable to ‘LBG Charity of the Year’.
Please be kind enough to ‘like’ and ‘share’ my blog posts with your social media connections so we can spread the word.
With your support, together, we can make a difference to our community.
With my personal thanks,
Pictured: Mark is aiming to raise £25,000 for Mental Health UK