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020221 Michael Casey on day 33 on his 100 day pull-up challenge for Childline.Pic Arthur Ellis.

Michael pulls himself up to raise support for Childline

AN Ennis man is setting the bar high when it comes to giving a lift during lock-down. Michael Casey has given himself the challenge of doing 100 pull ups every day for 100 days, with funds raised going to ISPCC’s Childline. Since starting at the beginning of the new year, the 27-year-old has already raised more than €2,000 and he hopes to exceed this amount as he continues for the coming months.
Explaining why he decided to take on the challenge he tells us, “With lock-down so many people are just so depressed, there is a real low mood around the place at the moment and I just wanted to do something to help. I decided that starting on the first of January, in the new year, it might encourage people to focus on the positives in 2021 instead, and leave all of the bad energy of 2020 behind.”
Michael is a mental health advocate and has written a book of short stories on mental health issues and how to handle them called ‘Breaking Free’.
Picking Childline as the organisation to support was an “easy choice”, saying he believes that the affect that Covid-19 and lock-down on children’s mental health has “gone unnoticed” with the work of the charity invaluable in offering support. He is urging people to be aware of the difficulties some teenagers and children may be suffering at this time.
“Many children will find themselves stuck in abusive households for weeks without the safe haven of seeing their friends or taking part in their hobbies. A lot of children who are struggling with their mental health won’t be able to get the proper help they need and the chances of their recovery drawing to a halt and even relapse are much higher.
“Cyber bullying is something that has seen a massive rise during lock-downs. Students who are doing their Leaving Cert are also under immense pressure with a massive question mark looming over the exam and whether or not it will go ahead and how it will if it does. These are just some of the groups of people who are suffering and will be availing of Childline’s 24 hour services during the lock-downs.
Unfortunately with the lock-downs Childine won’t be able to fundraise like it normally does and will be restricted to relying on online fundraisers such as mine for donations.”
He tells us the hardest part of the challenge has been motivating himself every day, however he insists, “the cause is way bigger and just knowing that you are doing it every day for a good cause makes it easier.”
When the idea for the fundraiser first came to Michael, he had hoped to get a group involved and to take on the challenge mostly in the gym, however the lock-down announced after Christmas meant this was not possible.
“It is frustrating, because I’d love to be able to do this challenge in a proper gym setting at some stage and wasn’t expecting to be doing the first 60 plus days confined to my home or the park. I’ve my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to finish the challenge off in a gym and maybe even do the workout with anyone willing.
“In a perfect world there would be no Covid and I’d be able to do this at the gym or in the park on a sunny day and be able to meet up with friends and record them doing videos and get more people involved. But the plan has turned on its head, luckily I have a pull bar at home that I can use and on good days hopefully there will be more places to go to,” he says.
Some of his friends have however managed to get involved by doing their own workouts and sharing on social media while donating to the cause, with Michael saying he has been “very, very grateful for the reception this challenge has got and the donations I have received.” He says that anyone who wants to get involved should get in touch, “people sharing and doing their own challenges and donating really encourages me to keep going.”
Michael is a firm believer in using exercise to support mental health, and he believes that gyms should be open during lock-down. “Exercise in my opinion is absolutely key for mental health, that’s why it’s so devastating the gyms are closed. I know an awful lot of people who say that for their mental health exercise is their therapy, it’s essential to their mental well being and that’s why it’s so sad.”
Michael is now a third of the way through the challenge. “If you could help out and donate anything, whether it’s a big or small, it would really help out this amazing charity during these hard times,” he concludes.
His challenge can be followed on Instagram @michaelcasey93 or search for Michael Casey on Facebook. Donations can be made at https://www.idonate.ie/mc100pullups
Any child or young person can reach Childline at any time by calling 1800 66 66 66.

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