At TTE we’re always keen to support worthwhile causes, and Michael Quinn’s more than fits that description. Michael is a massive Reading fan who recently walked the entire length of Ireland on behalf of two charities: Jigsaw and The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. Although he was born in Reading - just down the road from Elm Park in fact - he’s lived the other side of the North Sea since he was seven, and tries to get to at least one match each year.
Jigsaw “supports bereaved children, young people and their families and also those affected by a family member having a terminal diagnosis through Surrey, Sussex and surrounding areas”. On the other hand, The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust “aims to alleviate the financial hardship of bereaved families repatriating the body (bodies) of loved one(s) who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances back to Ireland”.
These causes are important to Michael on a personal level. He has sadly lost two friends abroad in the last two years, and has himself experienced mental health difficulties in the past. He says:
“Fear has always been a massive obstacle in my life and when my friends died I decided it was time that I would no longer be controlled by that fear.”
His monumental Irish trek saw him make the 1000km walk from Castletownbere in County Cork (Republic of Ireland) to Ballycastle in County Antrim (Northern Ireland). That meant a 40-day journey through the roads, fields and mountains of Ireland - all while wearing a Reading home kit. Michael adds his choice of attire, which he takes everywhere on his travels, led to some “curious looks”. He sums up the challenge as follows:
“It’s a journey that has pushed me to my very limits and given me some dark moments, but has exhilarated me in the most profound ways, truly a life-changing experience.
“I’ve been very open about my mental challenges through the journey on my Facebook page as a way to maybe help people that might be struggling themselves, to fight their fears and get help.”
NB: you can find Michael’s Facebook page here, where he shared updates from the walk.
Michael also has some advice for anyone going through mental health difficulties, a problem which is thought to affect up to 25% of the UK population.
“My advice to anyone suffering in silence is this: it’s one of the bravest things you can do to speak out, don’t feel like you have to man up, all you do is hide from your problems. Don’t let fear run your life.”
Please check out Michael’s fundraising page which you can find right here, and please give generously, it’s all for some great causes!