Julie’s Christmas Day Splash For Mind, In Memory Of Her Mum, Carol

At 9am on Christmas Day, Julie Theobald will be raising funds and awareness for Mind with a sponsored splash in the sea by Felixstowe Pier.

In memory of her mum, Carol, who sadly passed away in September 2021, Julie wants to raise as much money as possible for Mind. 

“No one should struggle alone when they’re experiencing mental health struggles – and Mind are there to help,” says Julie. 

Mind provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health challenges. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. To find out more about Mind and to seek support, visit: www.mind.org.uk

Julie told us about her mum and why she feels so strongly about raising funds and awareness for Mind…

“Mum worked for Age Concern and ran a tearoom; it was where you could come for a chat, ask for help and meet people from all walks of life. I would pop in from time to time to help… and get one of her legendary cheese scones. She loved baking and helping people. She also worked at tearooms at Ipswich Town Hall until they had to close due to lack of funds. This service was very important to the community and the loss of it was very sad.

“After the loss of her son, Michael, my little brother, mum struggled to do day to days things. His death left a big hole in all our lives. Over the next 10 years, she slowly got back to baking, socialising and going out again, but unfortunately this was short-lived after the sudden death of her husband, my dad, Peter. She shut down and I didn’t recognise the person she had become. She was devastated, she stopped talking about things and I felt so isolated and useless. You try as hard as you can to help as a family, but it’s incredibly difficult when you are struggling too.”

“After many months, we found a group of people who looked after an allotment on Coronation Drive. Slowly, mum found a love for gardening again and was able to meet like-minded people who also struggled with day-to-day life. 

“We lost mum suddenly on 11 September. It was a short illness, but it seems like mum had a lifetime with a broken heart that affected her health, mentally and physically. I think about the struggles she’s faced over the last 20 years, struggles that passed on to the rest of our family. How do you help and where do you start? We just carried on as best as we could, dealing with each wave that hit us.

“Everyone says ‘it’s okay not to be ok’, but do they know how much courage it takes to speak out? It’s challenging to seek support when you’re afraid that someone thinks you are attention-seeking or that they’re tired of listening because they have plenty of their own problems to deal with.

“So that got me thinking… I wanted to raise money and awareness for Mind. If you’re reading this and have struggles of your own, I want you to know that help is out there, even if you are afraid to speak to family or friends. Honestly, you are not alone. Sometimes talking to someone you don’t know really helps; they won’t judge you, think you are looking for attention or that you’re weak. You are worthy of love and deserve to be happy and enjoy your life. It does take a lot of courage to reach out for help but finding the right support really does make a difference. Please don’t struggle alone. 

“We have all, at some point, struggled with how we feel, whether it’s from bereavement, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem… the list goes on. I know from personal experience what it’s like having watched my mum struggle after the death of her son and then her husband. We, as a family, found it incredibly hard to give her the support she needed, and it was very difficult to get the right help quickly. Mental health challenges take so many different forms and all support and help should be more readily available. 

“So, in memory of mum, I’m raising money for Mind. I know it might only make a small difference, but I would like to help them as much as I can to continue to be there for families and individuals who need them. 

“Alongside friends and family, I’ll be taking to the sea for a Christmas Day Splash on 25 December at 9am by Felixstowe Pier. It’s going to be a tad chilly no doubt! You can come and join us on Christmas Day at the pier, or stay home in the warm, all I ask is please donate to this good cause.”

You can support Julie and Mind by heading over to her Justgiving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/julie-theobald 

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