A TEACHER walked nearly 900 miles in 30 days to raise money for a mental health charity.
Samantha Alvarez, known to her friends as Sam, took up the challenge last month and has so far raised over £2,000 for Mind.
Sam has just 82 miles left of the 874 and will complete the Seaford Beach Park Run this Saturday.
The 52-year-old Uckfield College teacher struggles with her mental health, which she says has deteriorated as a result of menopause.
Sam told The Argus: “I decided to spend my summer holidays running the distance between John O’ Groats, Scotland and Lands End, Cornwall to raise awareness about mental health, menopause and my own mental health to overcome challenges.
“It was a virtual challenge – up and down the Seaford coast. In this way I benefited from the support of my friends and followers of the club at Seaford Striders.
“I ran 62 miles the first day and then averaged 30 miles every day.”
Before completing her challenge this weekend, Sam thanked her running mates from Seaford Striders, Hailsham Harriers and Polegate Plodders.
She was also supported by her partner, friends and brother.
Sam from Seaford decided to fundraise for Mind because of the personal support she received from them.
“My mission is to raise awareness about mental health and menopause. Like many people, I struggle with my mental health. But I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore,” she added.
“I speak up, get help and take action. Accepting this challenge, speaking up and seeking help, was liberating.
“Even in this day and age, the stigma surrounding mental health still exists and as a result, people often suffer in silence and their conditions go untreated.
“Mental health has made my daily life more challenging, but it hasn’t prevented me from living a fulfilling and engaging life.”
Ever since she decided to seek help, she struggled to get the full treatment she needed through free services and decided to pay for the counseling sessions herself.
Sam said: “I find it tragic that only those with money have access to something so important.
“So I challenged myself to run a grueling 874 miles to raise money for Mind, who are working to make change so everyone has equal access to the mental health care they deserve.”
Sam says she has other plans for her fundraiser and even hopes to run the same distance of 874 miles while handcuffed to her running buddy Kate Bennett in a bid to set a Guinness World Record of 15 days.
She said: “I also plan to do more challenges with my students.
“I’m on a mission now to raise mental health awareness and won’t stop until charities like Mind are successful in making a difference.
“My dream is to know that everyone has timely access to free or affordable mental health support.
“The current reality is not like my dream but should be a basic human right like access to food and water.”
To donate to Sam’s fundraiser, please visit:
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20666361.seaford-woman-finish-874-mile-challenge-mind-charity/?ref=rss Seaford woman completes 874-mile challenge for charity Mind