A Manchester man is about to cycle for 24 hours straight for charity without leaving the comfort of his own home.
Benjamin Anthony is aiming to cycle 400 miles from the living room of his Castlefield flat to raise awareness and donations for mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), with the clock only being stopped for toilet breaks.
Throughout the epic 24-hour bike ride, he will be streaming live Instagram stories and inviting people to join him to discuss mental health, which has become especially important during the Covid-19 crisis.
It’s something which Ben is all too familiar with – and the reason why he is doing this amazing challenge.
“After floating in and out of children’s homes and the care system for most of my childhood, I finally got lucky and found a forever home with my amazing foster parents,” says Ben, who was a commando in the Army for seven years and based in Afghanistan for seven months.
“Unfortunately, my big sister Naomi was not so lucky and unfortunately found herself in a dark place. Sadly, at 17 she took her own life.
“A few years went by and heartache struck again. My best friend Jason, who unbeknown to his friends and family had been suffering from mental health issues, had taken his own life. I couldn’t understand. Outgoing, cheeky, charismatic and loved by everyone – he had seemed perfectly fine.
“Next it was my turn. After returning from Afghanistan in one piece I had an accident at home and broke my femur, and I had to learn to walk again.
“Throughout my childhood, my one escape was athletics, so to have that taken away from me, had a devastating impact on my life. The dark days came and went. I knew I had to speak up, I didn’t want to be a Naomi or Jason. Thankfully, I confided in the people around me and this got through one of the most difficult times in my life.
“It is now more important than ever to speak up and reach out. If my journey has taught me one lesson – it’s that life is unpredictable, we need to treasure and support the people around us.
“I also believe that physical exercise helps us to become mentally stronger. If you can push through when the going gets tough, you can push through anything. I will be pushing through the suffering for a full 24 hours on my trainer, and raising as much money as I can for CALM.”
Ben has already smashed his Just Giving target. Now he wants to see how much higher he can go. Follow him from 5pm Friday 29th May – Saturday 30th May 2020 at