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POWERHOUSE: Radlett resident lifts weights for 24 hours straight to raise charity funds

 Published on: 23rd September 2021   |   By: Jake Levison   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Radlett gym-goer has raised more than £21,000 for three mental health charities by lifting 154,363kg in 24 hours.

Obi Burchell, 26, decided to lift one kilogram in remembrance of every single person in the UK who has taken their own life over the course of his lifetime on September 10, which was World Suicide Prevention Day.

The money raised from the challenge, which took place at JABxing club in Bushey, will be split between charities Calm, MIND and Young Minds.

Obi has been very open about his own mental health issues, which almost lead to him taking his own life in 2012.

He explained: “Depression manifests itself in different ways for different people, but for me it was a continuous feeling of emptiness. I couldn’t find enjoyment in anything and I felt as if my life didn’t matter.

“Whilst growing up, society taught me that as a young man if I ever felt sad, stressed or anxious, I should ‘man up’ and get on with it. This led to years of bottled up feelings of anger
and sadness that I did not know how to share and express.

“This weight became too much to carry in October 2012 and I came within moments of taking my own life. That day and those feelings of hopelessness will stay with me forever, but there are so many who are no longer here to tell their story.

“I am incredibly grateful for and lucky to have the support system of family and friends I have around me however, for those who don’t have the support system, Mental Health Charities such as CALM, MIND and Young Minds continue to do vital work.”

Obi said that exercise has been integral to his positive mental health journey, therefore the challenge he gave himself last month was a fitting one.

He added: “It was very tough, but it went really well. I trained for a year and did a few test runs, but it’s like a marathon – you never run a full one until the day of the challenge.

“People were popping in and out of the gym to show their support, which helped me power through.

“My friend and personal trainer, Ben Morris, along with my girlfriend, Sophie, both stayed up with me for the full 24 hours and kept me motivated.

“I don’t think the enormity of what I did has sunken in yet. To have raised over £20,000 is incredible, but I think the main thing is to encourage people to open up more with friends and family when they need help.

“People are definitely more open these days when it comes to mental health issues, but suicide is more of a taboo subject.

“People don’t even like saying the word. We need to be more open – it’s never going to negatively impact someone to talk about it and be supportive of each other.”

To read more about Obi and his journey, go to www.obiburchell.com/

Photos courtesy of Elise Bloom Photography.

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