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Charlotte runs for Beat
Celeste Garib
Charlotte runs for Beat

Congratulations to Charlotte who was awarded an on-the-spot Flag Award by the Headmaster in the final assembly of term for her kindness, initiative and industry. The award was given in response to the message she shared at the assembly and her achievement of completing a 5k daily run during February, raising over £1,500 for the charity, Beat.
Here, we share what she said in the assembly.
‘During the recent lockdown that we are very slowly coming out of, I decided I wanted to make a difference to someone somewhere no matter how small it would be. My initial thought was that I wanted to raise money for a charity that helped me with the struggles I personally have faced mentally over the past year. I chose the charity Beat.
‘My main motive behind this idea was that I wanted to give something back, and show to everyone who is struggling that they can get through even the hardest of times. 
‘I decided that I would run 5k everyday during the month of February. I ended up raising over £1,500 and accumulated a total distance of 140km which, unfortunately, didn’t go towards the divisional/house strava competition [that competition took place at the beginning of March]. 
‘I was lucky enough to be in a position where I had received the help I needed in order to get me to a place where I was able to complete the challenge. Four months ago I was in a completely different situation and I wouldn’t have been able to do it, and I probably still wouldn’t now if I hadn’t got the help I needed. 
‘Running 5k a day for 28 days was challenging both mentally and physically, but never once did it compare to the struggle I faced when I was in the depth of my mental illness, and that’s what kept me going. 
‘By completing the challenge unscathed, apart from the loss of my two big toenails, I hoped I’d proven to everyone that when you reach out and ask for help it isn’t a sign of weakness, if anything it’s a sign of strength and it’s something that someone should never feel embarrassed about. I would run it again in a heartbeat if it meant others would get the help they need.
‘Over the past year COVID has affected many of us and life has thrown serious challenges at us all. With the amount of people suffering from a mental illness on the rise it’s more important than ever to talk.
‘The hardest thing about a mental illness is that you can’t necessarily see it or know who is struggling with one. It’s also not just children who suffer, it’s our teachers, parents, grandparents and even celebrities. 
‘One in 5 of us now struggles with a mental illness and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you had tonsillitis you would go to the doctor wouldn’t you? I know I would. Both physical and mental illnesses are valid and both deserve the medicine and treatment needed to make them better.
‘With Easter just around the corner and everyone still limited with who they can see, and what they can do, it’s so important to make an effort to check up on your friends, even the ones that seem happy or the ones you don’t necessarily see eye to eye with. 
‘A lot of people ask the question ‘How are you?’, but only really use it as a conversation starter. Taking the time to ask someone ‘How are you really feeling today?’ or ‘Is there anything weighing you down at the moment and, if so, how can I help?’, and then also taking the time to listen to the response, will make a huge difference to someone. 
‘Talking about problems is the best thing anyone can possibly do, no matter how big or small it is. Yes, talking won't cure everything but it’s a start. 
‘I used to believe I would never be able to get the old Char back, until I reached out for help.   
‘I know how hard it is to suffer mentally from an illness, but I also now know how reaching out helps and how it feels when you achieve something you never thought you could. 
‘The things that feel the most uncomfortable and that are the hardest to do, are often the things that are the most rewarding. So if you are struggling, reach out and talk to someone, it’ll be worth it. 
‘There’s always going to be someone out there that will be able to help, no matter how hard it is and when you do put your mind to something, no matter how great the challenge, you can accomplish it if you really want to. 
‘Michael Jordan once said: ‘Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it. Go through it or work around it’.’