Kevin’s 100 Day Training Challenge promotes the importance of men talking about mental health

Cork man endures 100-day physical challenge raising over €3,000 for charity to mark International Men’s Day

Having completed a personal 100-day endurance challenge, Kevin O’Keeffe, from Cobh, County Cork, raised over €3,000 for Aware, a charity that provides support, education and information to those impacted by depression, bipolar disorder and related mood conditions.

Kevin, a Senior Asset Engineer with Gas Networks Ireland, has first-hand experience of the importance of Aware’s work.  Having struggled with his own mental health, Kevin sought help last November through his employer’s employee assistance programme and after a series of counselling and therapy sessions, he is very grateful for the support services that helped him.

"I’m not ashamed to say I sought help and having come out the other side I want to do my bit in destigmatising mental health issues, and in encouraging people, particularly men, to talk," Kevin said.

With charities across the country struggling for donations as a result of the global pandemic, Kevin wanted to do something to give back. He set himself two targets at the start of summer, to train each and every day for 100 days and in doing so to raise money for Aware.

From July to October, Kevin spent countless hours in the gym, ran over 400 kilometres and even climbed Carrauntoohil twice. His training also included spinning, weight training and essentially anything he could to make it a challenge deserving of the many donations he received.

Having successfully completed the 100 days of training, Kevin is delighted to have raised over €3,000 for Aware.

"Apart from reaching my targets and being fitter, what really struck me was how my friends and colleagues began opening up and talking about their own struggles. So, whether it’s a pat on the back or a walk with a friend, this International Men’s Day, I encourage anyone in need, especially men, to seek the support to look after their mental health. I’d like to thank everyone who supported me and donated," Kevin said.

Nicola McSweeney, Head of Human Resources at Gas Networks Ireland said;

"At Gas Networks Ireland, the health and safety of our staff, customers and communities is our number one priority. Taking on this challenge, Kevin has achieved so much, both physically and in the funds raised for Aware. Gas Networks Ireland is committed to promoting, and encouraging, employee health and wellbeing, and we congratulate Kevin on his terrific achievement and thank all those who supported him along his journey." 

The 19thof November marks International Men’s Day, which celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. The day aims to highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being. This year’s theme for International Men’s Day is "Better health for men and boys".