It is that very gift which underpins everything I try to be; it is that gift which drives me in reaching out to others who find themselves in the very despair that I faced those years ago; I had no hope then, and if I can play even the smallest part in giving that hope to even one person, then everything I lived through has context and meaning.
When we talk about dignity, we are talking about the value in someone's life; every single one of us deserves a life of value, everyone has that right to live with dignity. Of course, if we consider an alternative definition of dignity, we will find that some of the poorest people in the world are rich in dignity while many of our leaders seldom display any, an oxymoron in itself.
For me, the driver is giving people a value in their lives. When I attempted to take my own life, I rendered it bereft of that value; why would I attempt to end something which held any value? Eleven years on, I hold it as the most precious God given gift, life itself. The reality is that my running 26.2 miles (or further) up and down the River Thames doesn't add any value to any life in itself, but as part of God's greater work in me can achieve exactly that.
This fundraising campaign
As I wrote in that piece for Mind, "split seconds of achievement will disappear in that moment, but how we make people feel about themselves lasts a lifetime, so while I have life in me, I will always join Mind in their mission to ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect." The same is true of the homeless and those I am supporting through the work of the Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
If you do want to donate, here are the ways in which you can:-
Visit my fundraising page at http://bit.ly/runwild17 - all donations will be split between The Connection and Mind
Text ROMH66 £5 to 70070 to support Mind
Text ROHO66 £5 to 70070 to support The Connection (Homeless London)
Thanks to you all for everything you continue to do in my life; for the friendships, support and encouragement, the inspiration to be everything I can be every day. See you on the other side of 100km!
Below is a short film made for my recent baptism which talks about my run with God.
"And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good."
- 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Remembrance Day, in itself offers us a very special time for reflection, one during which we inevitably think of those who gave their lives, and who continue to do so, in order to protect the liberty and freedom of generations past, present and future. As a Christian, and I'm sure many non-Christians would agree, I would prefer to live in a world where conflict didn't exist and such remarkable acts of bravery were not and hadn't been required; however, this is the world in which we live and we should always be so very grateful for all that we have.
As I peered over the sun drenched River Thames this morning, I couldn't help but think back to that equally beautiful morning in late April as I ran down the Victoria Embankment in those beautiful closing miles of the London Marathon; that was marathon number four of 2017 and I daren't think ahead, back then, to yesterday morning...
Yesterday's final miles were wet and muddy, but no less beautiful, some twenty or so miles, further down the same River Thames, covering a beautiful stretch of the Thames Path between Hampton Court and Walton-on-Thames. The encouragement of runners coming in the other direction was a real blessing and my thoughts drifted through a journey which has encompassed such joy and self-discovery.
I thought about that freezing January morning when I counted so many sleeping rough in a short stretch between Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, the day which really was the catalyst for this journey. Immediately my mind turned to an early, much milder, Saturday morning in July as I waited for a coach at Victoria Station to take me to the start line of the Race to the Stones, a morning where I looked directly through the looking glass into my past as I saw people sleeping rough in and around Victoria Coach Station. I thought about dignity stripped bare by mental illness and homelessness and I looked to the Heavens with thanks for the privileged life I have today, for the gift of life bestowed on me at a time when I didn't want it.
Running by Faith
Copyright 2016. Rohan Kallicharan. All Rights Reserved.
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