March 10, 2016, by Laura Estrop
Debbie does 12 hour walk for Mental Health awareness
By Hannah Webber, Disability Sports Officer
Monday 29 February to Friday 4 March was HealthyU week at the University, as part of that week we supported the University’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Thursday 3 March. The day was dedicated to shining a light on mental health, the day also saw one of our UoN Sport members, Debbie Butler making her mark by completing a 12-hour sponsored walk.
“I decided to do the walk both as a personal challenge and to raise money for Mental Health Research UK Charity, which was set up by an ex-colleague of mine at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. I have a long history of mental health problems and wanted to give something back. [This was] my way of saying, thank you.”
Debbie’s walk took place on one of the treadmills in the Jubilee Fitness Suite, starting at 8am and finishing at 8pm. Throughout the day, she was supported by colleagues and sports centre staff.
“The support I had on the day was absolutely tremendous. The sports centre staff were brilliant so a big thanks go to all who helped on the day. Luckily I was able to build in some rest time and having someone there most of the time to talk to me meant that the time went by pretty quickly.”
The 12-hour walk was a real challenge for Debbie, who nine months ago – couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs.
“I really enjoyed the day but have to admit I was scared I wasn’t going to complete it on several occasions during the day.”
Despite her reservations, Debbie powered on through to complete the walk and not only helped to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise on your mental health, but also achieved a massive personal goal too;
“When I finished I was exhausted but pretty euphoric at the same time. I kept saying I was proud of myself which is very unlike me in so many ways. It took a couple of days to get back to feeling normal.”
The walk has given Debbie a great deal more self-belief and confidence. So much so, that she’s already thinking about her next challenge;
“Achieving the 12 hour walk has urged me to set another challenge but I don’t know what yet so if anyone can think of something that would be great. I draw the lines at eating creepy crawlies and wiggly worms. I have started to run short distances, so I’m thinking about trying to run a 5km.”