The Wright support - becoming champions!

The Wrights and their dog on top of a summit

Heroes change lives for the better and real life heroes don’t have magical super powers but instead can be just like you or me.

True heroes are people that want to make a difference to the world that we live in, and improve the lives of people that they may not even know. They see a challenge, look at what they can do and bring a plan together to help make things better.

Heroes never see themselves as heroes; they just do it because they can.

Picture the scene - it’s the middle of winter, we are 9 months in to lockdown from a pandemic that is sweeping the world causing wide spread panic.  Travel restrictions are in place, working from home is the norm and death tolls are increasing daily as the World Health Organisation scramble to find a vaccine that will get the virus under control before it is too late. 

This is when we need heroes, and that is exactly what we got with Helen and Graeme Wright, a husband and wife team who own a gym business in Buckie. A couple that want to help others. Helen and Graeme were made aware of a local CrossReach mental health counselling service by one of their gym users, and having lost good friends in the past who had struggled with their mental health, they wanted to support the service and fundraise for it to ensure others would survive and thrive.

Despite admitting when they first decided to fundraise for the counselling service their knowledge of CrossReach services wasn’t great, what they did know was enough to inspire Helen and Graeme to want to support CrossReach and make a difference.

Recognising that there was a lot of people in the local community that were struggling with the isolation and loneliness of lockdown, they wanted to create an event that would not only engage people to fundraise but also have a direct benefit to their mental well-being by making them feel part of something special, part of a team with the same goal and feel supported by their peers. 

The concept that Graeme and Helen created ticked all these boxes and more; The Mount Everest challenge was created! The highest mountain in the world would be conquered virtually by a team of local fitness enthusiasts from Moray/Buckie and beyond, who would not climb but jump the equivalent height of Mount Everest (29,029 feet) in 40 days in sub-teams of 10.

The amount of effort going in to this challenge from Helen and Graeme was tremendous and on top of this they were also making time to chat to CrossReach and find out more about us as a charity and the work that we do, building their knowledge and sharing it with others to gain even more support. Touch points were set with CrossReach for the duration of the challenge and it was all systems go.

Then on a cold crisp January morning, 58 intrepid, determined and caring individuals came together to become Team Everest and start their ascent. As a team they supported, motivated and encouraged each other over the next 40 days to reach the summit. They gathered so much support and attention that the local Press and Journal newspaper published an article on the challenge. Fundraising targets were smashed, bringing in over £4,000 from an original £1,000 target.

Just to put £4,000 into perspective, that could fund 80 one-hour counselling sessions for people struggling with their mental health. That is not just life changing but life-saving!

Individuals were contacting the Wrights to thank them for providing a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or for making them feel part of something! That feedback is priceless and makes all the effort worthwhile.

The Wrights did not stop there! Always looking ahead for a new challenge, a new way to engage and support people, after a virtual thank you event with CrossReach via zoom, Helen and Graeme announced that they had even more plans to support CrossReach, including a “Get Fit for CrossReach” month and a CrossReach ramble. They also took part in the virtual Kiltwalk, climbing Ben Rinnes six times in a weekend. Their focus and determination is an inspiration, but so is their humility, always recognising the contribution of others, others that they have inspired and engaged to support the work of CrossReach.

Helen and Graeme were asked to describe CrossReach in three words. They chose “vital, heartfelt and inspiring” which we at CrossReach think are three words that also describe Helen and Graeme Wright. People like Helen and Graeme Wright are vital in their local community, bringing people together in times of need. Everything they do comes from the heart and they are a true inspiration to others.

And that is why CrossReach have recognised their commitment to and belief in the work that we do, not only in their local area but all over Scotland. We have appointed them our first ever ‘CrossReach Fundraising Champions’. Even when they reach the summit they then aim higher and we are truly grateful for their support.

Have you got what it takes to become our next fundraising champion?

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