Derek’s raising mental health awareness to incredible new heights

by Sylvia Pownall

A DAD-OF-THREE is hoping to conquer the world’s seven highest summits across seven continents to promote mental health recovery.

Derek Mahon, 55, from the Naul, departed for Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last weekend for the 5,895-metre first leg of his challenge.

Derek – who climbed his first mountain just six years ago – is undertaking the gruelling climb in aid of mental health charity GROW.

He said: “The summit success rate is 60 per cent and the climb itself covers a range of climates and terrain from rainforest to moorland, alpine desert and glacier.

“So I am expecting heat, humidity, rain, hail showers and snow.”

Derek has already scaled the world’s third highest peak Everest as well as Mount Ebrus in Russia and Mont Blanc in the French Alps. This week’s feat will bring him one climb closer to his goal.

He said: “I believe any success is 80 per cent mental and 20 per cent physical. If you believe you can do it, your ability and physicality will add the missing percentage to achieving that goal.

“I believed 100 per cent I could climb Mount Everest. I never doubted myself. I researched the climb, spoke to many other climbers, read books, viewed YouTube videos.

I mentally prepared myself for the challenges, the isolation beyond the rescue of Tibet, missing my wife and family, having to make an effort each and every day to acclimatise, to eat as much as I could.

“Physically, I was in the shape of my life. I had one shot at this wonderful mountain and I was giving myself the best chance I could. There were no doubts.”

Dismissing any suggestion of a mid-life crisis, financial adviser Derek said positive mental attitude is the single most important tool we should arm ourselves with.

He added: “Surround yourself with achievers, encouragers and helpers and your dreams will become realities.”

So far Derek has raised €600 of €10,000 needed to fund his challenge. To donate online visit:

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