A grieving dad who was left struggling to cope when his son took his own life has raised a whopping £5,500 after making it to the top of Kilamanjaro in his memory.
Supported by sister in law Stacey and a team of climbers, Andrew Harding completed the ambitious 5,895 metre trek on what would have been his son Daniel’s birthday.
Andy said he battled “sleep deprivation, five climate zones and altitude sickness” on the “emotional but incredible” seven day expedition, undertaken in aid of suicide-prevention charity CALM.
“Yes it was tough, and we even pinned a photo of our Dan on our backpacks so he could spur us on,” Andy said.
“That huge mountain was never going to stop us holding that birthday banner up at the top.
“We stood proud at 5,895 metres and wished my son a happy birthday.”
Daniel Harding was 24 when he committed suicide in October 2015. He had beensuffering from depression.
Suicide is currently the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.
In 2015, 75 per cent of all UK suicides were male.
“As parents we will never be able to accept it but we have to learn to cope with it,” Andrew went on.
“The heartache spreads through to his two younger brothers, grandparents, uncles and aunties, cousins and very close friends.
“It has left all of us in shock and disbelief-that we were unaware of this hidden illness.”
But since Daniel’s death, Andy and his family have been determined to channel their grief into something positive that will benefit other sufferers.
Last year, 21 family members and friends, along with members of the RAF, completed the Midlands Tough Mudder- raising more than £6,000 for Bassetlaw MIND.
“I never imagined doing anything like this,” Andrew added.
“There was another eight climbers in the group from different areas of the UK and we made a great team.
“They were all moved by our story and straight away agreed to our group name to Team Calm.
“It’s a shame about the circumstances, but it just goes to show that you can do anything if you try.”
For more information about CALM or if you or a loved one need support visit the charity’s wensite at www.thecalmzone.net or call 0800 58 58 58.