Gina Allsop, mental health campaigner and fundraiser for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, is set to crawl up the highest mountain in the United Kingdom to raise funds for the charity.
On 16 December, Gina, and a group of other veterans, will be scaling the mountain on all fours to highlight the challenge many people face with mental health issues.
Gina, who served in the British Army in Bosnia and Kosovo, was helped by SSAFA after suffering with her own mental health battle.
“I was diagnosed with PTSD and then my brother got diagnosed with cancer.
“We were told he had weeks to live just as COVID hit. All his treatment stopped. . . I’d go and see him for an hour and then I’d go for a cycle to help me cope.
“One such day I was knocked off my bike in a hit and run. Thankfully I was only badly bruised, but the bike wasn’t, it was completely trashed. Then the next day my amazing brother died. That was when Graham, a caseworker for SSAFA, called me to offer help.”
Not only did Graham help Gina get through this dark time, but he also helped raise the money Gina needed to replace her bike. Since then, Gina used her new bike to raise thousands for the charity. She has also campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of mental health issues and loneliness.
“During the Christmas period particularly, times can be tough and difficult. Loneliness also increases during the festive period and I would like my crawl up Ben Nevis to make people stop and think. Maybe reach out to a neighbour or check in on a friend you haven’t heard from for a while. Loneliness kills, and a small act of kindness can make a massive difference in someone’s life. So, if you can’t donate, then just reach out and talk.”