Meet the two friends who are about to take on Mount Kilimanjaro to raise vital funds for Chasing the Stigma.
Paddy Weathers and Rich Evans, who both have their own lived experience of mental health difficulties, are taking on the epic climb to raise funds and help others who may be struggling with their mental health.
Early this week, we spoke to the two Evertonians about why they are taking on such a monumental challenge.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who are you? What do you do? What’s your favourite theme tune?
PW: I’m Paddy, a 31-year-old, half Scouse, half Devonian. I was born in Liverpool and moved to Devon at the age of 15. I now work at local college as a Project Manager. My favourite theme tune is probably a toss-up between Z Cars or Bottom – Rik Mayall is my hero!
RE: I’m Rich. I’m a father of two wonderful kids, Josh and Kitt. I live with them and my long-suffering wife Emma. I work in recruitment and my favourite theme tune is the Wonder Years!
Why Chasing the Stigma?
PW: As an Evertonian, I first heard about CTS on World Mental Health Day, Everton published a story on social media about the charity and I was struggling at the time, so took some much-needed inspiration from Jake. Looked into Jake’s story and his innovative approach to tackling mental health impressed me.
RE: It fits perfectly with our mission to get more people talking about their own mental health, and to normalise the whole thing.
Climbing the highest free-standing mountain in the world is a bit dramatic isn’t it?
PW: I decided I wanted to do something like Kilimanjaro for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to do something that I felt would capture people’s imagination and therefore raise more money for the charity. Secondly, I would never consider doing something like this, it takes me completely out of my comfort zone, and kind of epitomises the mental challenges I had been facing on a personal level. I feel by overcoming this, it will reaffirm my ability to overcome any mental challenges I may face in the future!
RE: I blame Paddy! But like he said, it takes us waaaay out of our comfort zone. It’s going to be a huge mental challenge, as well as physical.
We know you have other things up your sleeve, it’s not just the climb is it?
PW: We have some local fundraisers such as Charity Race Nights and Charity Football Matches in the coming months. Everton are also supporting our campaign by providing us with some exposure through matchday events.
RE: I think the main thing is getting as many people involved as possible. Stories, fund raising, talking.
What do you hope your efforts and the money you raise can achieve?
PW: Ultimately the more money we raise will help Chasing the Stigma continue their work of educating people on how to respond to people who may be suffering with a mental illness. However, if for every pound we raised, someone spoke out about their struggles, that would be brilliant!
RE: If we can help as many people as possible that are in the same place we both were a year ago, suffering in silence, to talk about things and start to manage their mental health more effectively – then it’s mission accomplished.
What’s next? After the climb is done, is that it?
PW: We haven’t quite got that far ahead, I think the primary focus will be to work closely with Chasing the Stigma and support Jake in various ways. However, we have had a great initial response to our campaign #NotOkisOK so we will see where that takes us… watch this space!
RE: No more mountains!