They have an emergency response team made up of 15 volunteers, who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They respond to potential suicide attempts and incidents, and also recover the bodies of anybody who goes missing in the river with greatest dignity.
Northern Ireland as a whole is facing a suicide Epidemic, with 305 people committing suicide in 2017. Foyle Search and Rescue dedicate their lives to stopping these rates from rising, sometimes putting their own lives at risk searching for bodies in different weather conditions.
If you speak to anybody in Derry, they all know someone who has committed suicide or has tried to. I believe the lack of opportunity and jobs and the lack of funding for mental health facilities is the reason for such high rates of suicide. This is a subject so close to many peoples hearts, all over the UK.
In July 2018, the Foyle Search and Rescue dealt with 60 incidents, which is double that of July 2017. 11 of which were rescues from the river, and one young man died. In the last 16 months, 12 people have lost their lives to the Foyle River.
My first fundraising task is, as it is suicide awareness week from 9th - 16th September, I'm going to be walking 10,000 steps every day between those dates and then running my first race, St David’s Day 1k on the 16th. Being active, and going to the gym has always been something that has helped with my mental health.
The second fundraising task I will undertake is the Race at your Pace 50 miles challenge for October, where I will walk/run 50 miles over the space of the month. I will continue to up my miles every month, in November I will be doing 100 miles. Every month in 2019 I will be doing 100 miles, potentially more.
Any donations no matter how big or small would be really greatly appreciated by myself, Foyle Search and Rescue, and most of all, the people of Derry.
- Lesley & Michael Lee
- Kat Hall
- Jessica Hollyman
- Katie Donelon
- Harley Dady
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