Catherine smashes January challenge to raise money for Mental Health Charity

February 8, 2021

During the month of January, Catherine Fleming-Fisher, a Team Leader at Kingarth residential service for individuals with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs, in Greater Manchester, took on the ‘Run Everyday’ challenge to raise money and awareness for Mental Health Charity, Manchester MIND.

Catherine’s aim was to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) over the course of the month, with a target of raising £150 pounds, however, by the end of the challenge she had successfully smashed both of these goals, running a total of 63 miles and raising just under £500 to date!

MIND is a charity which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. The charity also campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Research has shown that the uncertainty and changes to our day to day lives caused by the Covid pandemic have led many people to experience an increase in anxiety as well as post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression and insomnia. For some it has sparked or worsened more serious mental health problems. 

As a result, raising much needed funds for charities who are supporting people struggling with their mental health, has never been more important.

Catherine used to regularly take part in running challenges for MIND up until two years ago when, due to health reasons, she made the decision to retire; however, recognising the impact that the pandemic is having on people’s mental health, she decided it was time to dust off her running shoes and take part in the ‘Run Everyday’ challenge to raise money and awareness of the charity, which is supporting so many people through this difficult time.

Catherine says, “I always say that mental health doesn’t discriminate and with the current challenges around Covid-19, I worry that there are now more people than ever suffering with their mental health.”

“I personally know of people who have been supported by Manchester MIND, so it is a charity that is very close to my heart. I also wanted to raise awareness that ‘it’s ok, not to be ok!’” adds Catherine.

Catherine ran every day in January, fitting in her runs around her shifts at Kingarth. Despite having to endure severe weather conditions, with ice and rain effectively turning the ground into an ice rink, Catherine was able to cover distances ranging from between one and a half miles and six miles a day and even managed not to slip over on at least three runs, which was an achievement in itself!

Asked whether she had any nerves about being able to complete the challenge, Catherine, like a true hero, says, “When I used to run regularly two years ago, I ended up with a stress fracture and popped Achilles so I knew there was a chance I would incur some injuries during the challenge but I also knew for a fact, I would finish the challenge regardless – I managed to get away with an inflamed Achilles and a swollen shin where the previous stress fracture was!”

Catherine was overwhelmed by the amount of support she received from her colleagues at Kingarth and from Consensus as a whole, saying, “It has been very humbling and made me even more positive and focused throughout the challenge.”

After completing the challenge, Catherine was delighted to receive an email from MIND Manchester, praising her efforts and sharing that, out of thousands of fundraisers, she was in the top 20%. The message went on to say, “Congrats for raising so much money for Manchester MIND, you’re an absolute hero.”  

Reflecting on the challenge and the money raised, Catherine said, “I would like to thank everyone who donated so generously to my ‘Run Everyday’ challenge, which enabled me to smash my target and raise nearly £500 for Manchester MIND.”

“The support the Charity provide is a real lifeline for so many people who are struggling with their mental health and I am really pleased that the money raised through my challenge will support them to continue to offer their vital services, especially as we face the ongoing challenges of the Covid pandemic.” 

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