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Hi :). We are Jasper and Riona, a.k.a. team Pied Wagtail. We are a couple of first year undergraduates from the university. Since we started dating last October, our relationship has been marked by the rules around social distancing and protecting the community as a whole. For us personally, this has made us much more active, as walking together is one of the few things we can do and we both enjoy! Other hobbies include birdwatching, baking, being creative together, and we love to laugh!
Together, we have walked far and wide; in the autumn term we walked to Askham Bryan Wildlife & Conservation Park and back from campus which totaled roughly 40 miles between us in one day!
We are taking on the great walk challenge as both an incentive to stay fit and as a way to support the community while doing what we love to do.
We and every other participant in this event will be raising funds for Mentally Fit York, a charity designed to aid mental health research. During these tough times, caring for mental health is really important; for us personally, mental health has been a huge challenge over the last few months, as we weren’t able to see each other from the 4th of December 2020 till the 11th of April 2021. We had planned to see each other just before the spring term started: on the 5th of January. But mere hours before Jasper’s flight the government announced many new rules and Jasper had to miss his flight to England… That was probably the saddest day of our lives, and for months after that, we kept getting our hopes up of seeing each other just to have them crushed every time… The four months we were apart took a huge mental toll, and we were just barely getting by, but we stuck to each other tightly and supported each other so we could get through that awful period. If we didn’t have each other we would both have faced real mental health issues; for this reason we want to raise money to support the people in a situation like ours without someone that really cares for them to turn to.
As a goal between the two of us, we plan to walk 250 miles within the period this project is running (10th May - 31st July). Together we will try our absolute best to take on 1% of the target of 25,000 miles, and with the rest of the community by our sides, the huge goal will surely be beaten.
We will take pictures on our walks and post them to an online album that you can access here, so you can follow along with our journey together :D. One large walk we have planned is to take a train to Malton and walk all the way back to campus via the Temple of the Four Winds once our exam period is over. We will post updates on here when more plans are made in this regard.
Please donate anything you can to help our target and improve mental health in York and beyond! :) (P.S. If you want to join me on the walk, you can sign up here.)
Our walk will be in aid of Mentally Fit York, which will promote good mental health on a local, national and international scale. Your support will be used to fund initiatives such as 24/7 mental health support for York students and research projects to further our understanding of mental health issues and the barriers to accessing support services. Your support may also go towards providing suicide prevention training, Mental Health Nursing Scholarships or it could contribute to a range of other initiatives which are decided by an expert panel of mental health and wellbeing researchers, practitioners and advocates. Find out more about what Mentally Fit York has supported here.