GROW members and staff who took part in the 50,000km trek from Ireland to Sydney and back, celebrated the completion of their journey at the 50th Anniversary Weekend in Carlow on September 22nd.
After months of pounding the roads, parks, mountains and beaches all across the country, this virtual walk came to a conclusion when the medals were presented by Derek Mahon at the 50th Anniversary Weekend in Carlow.
The unique challenge, which was part of an initiative to raise awareness of GROW, was a fitting way to bring the curtain own on the very successful conference at the Mount Wolseley Hotel and members from all over Ireland were thrilled to be part of the ceremonial final kilometre.
Over the past number of months, members of GROW from all over the country have been meeting on a regular basis to clock up the kilometres. Each distance covered was logged into the My Virtual Mission website and participants could follow their progress to see which country they were passing through at any particular time.
The ceremonial last kilometre was led by well-known mountain climber and triathlete Derek Mahon, a long-time ambassador of the community-based peer support group, who presented the local participants with their medals afterwards.
GROW’s CEO Michele Kerrigan, who also took part in the virtual walk, thanked Derek for his continued support and praised all those who participated over the past number of months
“The challenges that Derek faces during his climbs are similar in many respects to the challenges faced by people who struggle on a daily basis with their mental well-being. GROW’s recovery programme prepares people to take small, but very significant and practical steps towards achieving their ultimate goal of personal recovery.
“It was wonderful to see so many people across the country embrace the initiative and the sense of achievement at the end of the final kilometre made it all worthwhile,” added Michele.
Derek is no stranger to challenges himself as he is currently midway through an attempt to scale the highest summit on each of the seven continents of the world. Already he has conquered Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mont Blanc in The Alps, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Aconcagua in South America, while he is currently in training to scale Denali in Alaska. That will leave him with Vinson in Antarctica followed by The Carstyn Pyramid in Papua New Guinea.