If you’re one of our snowsports industry partners, or perhaps a Switch180 supporter who’s supported our work in recent years, you’ll no doubt have had some interaction with Dan Keeley – our ever-positive Community Manager.
You’ll know of Dan’s passion for snowsports and his belief in the Switch180 community to change of the lives of the young people we support. You’ll know of Dan’s infectious energy towards each aspect of his work. But what you may not know is what he has been up to over the past 12 months… he has been preparing for an adventure of a lifetime, to run 1250 miles from Rome To Home!
Starting 25th August 2017, Dan will be setting out from the Colosseum and looking North as he winds up through Tuscany and the spine of Italy, over the Alps via the Great St Bernard pass, then from Lake Geneva to Paris before crossing the channel to Newhaven. Once back on home soil, Dan will wind up through Sussex and Kent before the final blast from Greenwich Park to the London Eye on Saturday 28th October.
Oh and Dan will be doing the whole thing unsupported. Yep, carrying everything he needs on his back. We’re exhausted just thinking about it!
We asked Dan to tell us more, starting with the obvious question… Why?
DK: Well, some of you will know that I’ve had some significant battles with my mental health over the past 5 years after being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2012.
That summer – and after 6 months of not looking after myself – I experienced a full-scale manic episode when on holiday in Italy and was then facing 6 months of crippling depression which had me wanting to take my own life.
Since then, it’s been a hugely positive journey of recovery thanks to the love & patience & support & professional guidance of so many incredible people around me – friends, family, a number of amazing professionals via the NHS and of course every one of my colleagues at Switch180.
As such, I’m running from Rome To Home predominantly as a platform to share my story, what’s worked for me and ultimately to keep men alive by talking, with the Alps stage being dedicated to Switch180’s programme Snow Camp who I couldn’t be doing this adventure without.
Here’s the route:
Ultimately my aims with Rome To Home are:
1) To share my story – from my full blown manic episode in 2012 to what it’s taken to get back to the positive place you find me in today. By doing so I hope to play my part in normalising the conversation surrounding mental health issues, to give hope to others suffering out there, to thank all the incredible people who have supported me over the past 5 years and ultimately to encourage others (particularly guys) to speak up when they’re struggling the most.
2) To raise £12,000 and a ton of awareness for CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) and £2,000 for Snow-Camp when I cross the Alps – paying for CALM’s helpline to stay open for one full week and for one inner-city young person to experience the full journey of courses with Snow Camp.
3) To take on an amazing adventure challenge – to push my boundaries, test my limits, self-medicate (channeling my energy in to this positive external challenge) and perhaps encourage others to take on an adventure of their own.
When will you be crossing the Alps?
My goal is to cross the Alps the week commencing Monday 25th September, exactly one month after setting out from the Colosseum. My route will start in Aosta, then up & and over the Great St Bernard Pass to finish in Martigny towards the end of the week. Bring it on!
How can people track your progress?
Here’s my live tracker:
Can we follow you online?
How can people get involved?
If anyone would like to run with me when I arrive back in the UK, I’d love to have your company – whether that’s through Sussex, Kent or the final blast along the Thames to the London Eye. For more details, visit www.rometohome.com/getinvolved.
What about ‘The Cool Down’?
If all goes to plan, I’ll be finishing the adventure on Saturday 28th October, the same weekend as The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Show. As such, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate with everyone who’s supported my efforts for Snow Camp than by running from the London Eye over to Battersea on the Sunday. See you over there!
Anything else to add?
Just to say, on behalf of Snow-Camp and all the young people we support, thank you for your kind & generous donations and for coming on board with the adventure. For any enquiries, please email me at email@example.com or call the Snow Camp office on +44(0)1273 241383. Thank you.