Dan Keeley’s biggest physical challenge to date and why Snow-Camp keeps on inspiring him
If you’re one of Snow-Camp’s industry partners, or perhaps a Snow-Camp supporter, you’ll no doubt have had some interaction with Dan Keeley – Snow-Camp’s ever-positive Snowsports Community Manager.
Dan is hugely passionate about snowsports and his belief in the Snow-Camp community to change of the lives of the young people we support. He also knows about the challenges of mental health and the importance of giving young people a focus. And this is why he has decided to take on the biggest physical challenge of his life – running 1250 miles from Rome To Home!
Starting on 25th August 2017, Dan will be setting out from the Colosseum in Rome to eventually arrive at the London Eye on Saturday 28th October, with his journey taking him over the famous Grand St Bernard Pass. He will do this all unsupported carrying everything he needs on his back.
LISTEX caught up with Dan to find out more about the challenge and why he remains so passionate about Snow-Camp and the work it carries out:
1) Dan, why are you taking on this challenge?
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. After months of not looking after myself that year, I lost touch with reality and experienced a full blown manic episode when on holiday in Italy and was then facing six months of crippling depression that 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. As such, I’m running from Rome To Home predominantly as a platform to share my story, what’s worked for me and also to raise money for Snow-Camp, with the Alps stage being dedicated to Snow-Camp who I couldn’t be doing this adventure without.
2) Dan, so we know why you are doing it, but do you really think it is possible to run so far?
Great question and I do… well I think I do! And fingers crossed I’ll have a smile on my face for as much of the journey as possible! The plan is to be very kind to myself when I’m out there both physically & mentally. 1250 miles is a long way but really it’s just a whole series of 10 mile runs linked together right?! I’ll rest when I need to, walk when I need to, and I’m not looking to break any speed records either, so I hope this all makes for a positive mindset.
3) How has being involved with SnowCamp over the last few years helped you? And why do you think the Snow Camp programme has such a big impact on young people?
There’s no way I’d be in the positive place you find me in today if it wasn’t for the support of Dan Charlish and the Snow-Camp team – giving me the time & space I’ve needed when managing my mental health over the past 5 years.
I think anyone who’s close to the charity knows of the dedication and passion we all have as a team – to deliver our vision and change the lives of as many young people as we can.
Every year I’m blown away by just how much the young people change through the Snow-Camp programmes – from rarely having left the inner-city environment to accessing snowsports for the first time and growing as individuals through our life-skills sessions. It’s just amazing to see, and a pretty special thing to be a part of!
4) Why do you think snowsports businesses should support charities such as Snow-Camp
Well, my role at Snow-Camp is all about community and how we bring people together for social change. We don’t think any charity partnership should be a one way thing, but instead an exciting, innovative & creative partnership which ultimately delivers mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone involved. The snowsports industry isn’t a big one, but it’s a passionate one, and so by working with us, DSUK, the BSS National Foundation, Skiing With Heroes, Snowbility, I really do believe that we can collectively move mountains, break down the barriers to access and ultimately make snowsports more accessible to everyone.
5) Any messages for those people at LISTEX whilst you are running 1250 miles?
Pray for me! I’m going to need all the support I can get. All being well I’ll reach Aosta on Monday 25th September, ready for the 2 days up & 2 days down the Great St Bernard Pass starting on the Tuesday. Of course any support towards my fundraising for Snow-Camp would be mind-blowing. If you can visit www.rometohome.com/snowcamp and make kind donation (however large or small) I’d be forever grateful, and please do spread the word. Have a fantastic couple of days and I’ll do my best to keep you right up to speed.
To find out more about Snow-Camp visit www.snow-camp.org.uk