One of the things that people don't tell you when you lose someone close to you is that periods of celebration become tainted with remembrance. Birthdays, Christmas, holidays even activities, they all bring back a spark of memory which either tears you up or makes you smile in that nostalgic way. However much fun you're having on those significant days, it's always in the back of your mind. And for me, my brother will certainly be on my mind during my birthday on the 1st of May.
But hey that's just life and it's something I have to get used to living with. What I can't get used to living with however, is the rising suicide rates in young people. I can't get used to living with 100,000 people aged 14 resorting to self harm as a way of dealing with their mental ill health. I can't get used to living with more and more families having to bury their children because a system has failed and a devastating disease of the mind has won once again. I can't get used to living with that.
So yes, here's another fundraiser. And no, I'm not running a marathon or swimming across the Atlantic, nothing nearly as extreme. Honestly, all I'll be doing on the 1st of May this year is turning 19 and revising. But that's as good an opportunity as any to ask for donations to help young people who without treatment will deteriorate and may end their own life. That for me is as extreme as it gets. Unfortunately however it is happening to hundreds of young people and their families every year.
So don't buy me a drink for my birthday, throw in a fiver as a way to try and stop another 17 year old and his family having to bury a younger brother because a devastating and totally preventable disease won yet again.
You're not here, but we're still fighting for you buddy. And it's that fact which makes my birthday, and every other day happier. We won't stop fighting the fight, walking the walk or talking the talk. That's a promise I made you on day one, and a promise I take very seriously.