A DOWNEND woman is running 500 miles in support of a suicide awareness charity.
Jenny Wooldridge took on the year-long challenge in memory of her dad Brian Davies, who took his own life 30 years ago, aged 57.
Starting with the Bristol 10k back in September, Jenny has been running every week with her Labrador dog Wilbur, and is already more than halfway through her challenge. She originally planned to finish with the Bristol Half Marathon, but after it was moved from September to May she applied for and won a place at the Great North Run on September 11.
Jenny is raising money for charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which works to tackle the stigma around suicide, raise awareness and offer support to people who are struggling with life.
CALM says 6,500 lives in the UK are lost to suicide every year and three quarters of those are male: it is the biggest killer of men aged under 45.
Jenny said: “So many people are affected by suicide and so many men are losing their lives unnecessarily. Men are also less likely to engage with support or traditional mental health services. In 1992 we lost our Dad to suicide. His death was sudden and came without any of the apparent warnings.
“It was utterly ‘out of character’ and it was devastating. For years after his death, I struggled with my own mental health as I tried to come to terms with the loss of Dad.
“Running was one of the things which got me through these times and just the sense that I had to hang on and hope that things would get better.
“Last year marked 30 years since we lost Dad and I wanted to give something back and help, in my own way, to break the stigma of mental health and suicide.
“I wanted to stand with those who struggle with dark thoughts but also to talk about hope, hanging on and new horizons.”
Jenny is aiming to raise £500 to support CALM’s work with her 500-mile run – she has an online donations page at justgiving.com/fundraising/jenny-wooldridge22.
She said: “Every pound given can alter a life, and we can all make a difference by talking about mental health and enabling people just to talk about how they feel.”
CALM runs a national helpline, open from 5pm to midnight every day, on 0800 585858.
To find out more about CALM visit www.thecalmzone.net.