Friends and family of Lisburn man Jamie Blackwood step out to raise money for charity in his memory
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Over 50 of Jamie’s closest friends and family will be going the extra mile for the charity on February 3 when they complete the Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail in Fermanagh, better known as the Stairway to Heaven.
The walking route meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase.
The group will then tackle the steep climb up 450 steps to the 666m summit.
As Jamie’s mum Victoria explained, the Lisburn man, who had a passion for cars and motorsports, had struggled with his mental health for many years and the help he desperately needed was not at hand quickly enough to save him.
"I don’t think he got the help he needed and I don’t want this to happen to any other family,” said Victoria.
"He had been on the system for years and I think he was let down by a lot of people including doctors and psychiatrists.
"The waiting lists are terrible. Without a doubt all of this could have been prevented. He wanted help.”
Jamie’s family and friends decided to take on the charity walk not only to raise money for the charity but also to raise awareness of the need for help and support for people facing mental health issues.
“We look around at a few charities but I wanted to make sure the money stayed in Northern Ireland,” continued Victoria.
"I want to get awareness into schools. The charity have said they will use the money to go into local schools and train teachers.
“Suicide isn’t talked about enough. People are scared to say the word but it needs to be said.”
They are hoping to raise £1000 for the charity and they are already very close to that target.
"Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure,” said Victoria. “Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, so it's the most efficient way to give - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.”
To support this worthwhile cause, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/leah-birtles-1704974761650
Thanking Jamie’s family and friends for supporting the charity, Caroline King, the Northern Ireland Area Manager for Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Victoria and all those who will be supporting her challenge.
"Fundraising helps us to continue giving hope to young people who are struggling with life.
“Generous donations help to pay for potentially life-saving calls, texts and emails to our confidential HOPELINE247 service, which offers support and advice to young people and anyone who is worried about a young person who may be having thoughts of suicide.
“Funding also helps Papyrus to engage with local communities and volunteers in suicide prevention projects and supports the training we deliver to individuals and groups, equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.
“We believe that many young suicides are preventable and together we can all help to keep our communities suicide-safe.”
For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact the Papyrus HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email [email protected].