Damien trained and climbed the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales – or so he thought. Then he learned he climbed the wrong mountains! The story went viral and he became, “famous for five minutes,” as Damien puts it. He was interviewed by the press, parodied on TV, and as a result he raised over 15,000 pounds for charity in honor of a friend’s passing from an illness. As a thank you, the friend’s mother nominated Damien to carry the Olympic torch and he was selected to run in the 2012 London Games.
Now, almost 10 years on, he plans on climbing the right mountains, and for a very personal and important reason. After years of battling depression, his brother succumbed to suicide in February. He was with his brother’s wife after speeding home while on business travel when he learned the tragic news.
Damien is channeling his grief into a new climb, fundraising and raising awareness around mental health. Depression effects 264+ million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Lowering the stigma around mental health by talking about what’s going on inside our heads, getting support, and professional help is critical.
As part of his awareness efforts, Damien’s #GivingAtNow fundraising campaign matches employee donations and when he volunteers and helps others, he logs his volunteer hours. This fall, ServiceNow is paying out a $500 grant for every 100 hours employees' log. Damien’s inspirational story to go outside, be with nature, exercise, fundraise, and raise awareness is critical for all of us to realize the several options we have when dealing with stress and loss. If you need support, look for Employee Assistance Program benefits as well as community organizations with grief counselors, and trust in family or friends. As Damien says, “it’s okay to say that you’re not feeling like yourself sometimes.”
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