According to Tom Griffiths, founder of http://www.gapyear.com
a "chad is a Charity Adventurer - someone who is doing an amazing trip to raise money for charity or to raise awareness for something"... I guess that makes me a mad chad!
Tom wrote a blog explaining all for the Guardian website explaining all and was kind enough to give me a mention and plugged me a bit more in the comments section - http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/travelog/2007/09/are_you_a_chad.html
It has allowed me, well Phil, the man who is kindly building the website for me to construct a media page. I now also have my very own url address at www.cycleasia.co.uk
. Stuff is being added all the time so keep checking in!
Am now in the process of trying to organise a stunt that will attract the various media outlets and let the locals of my delightful area know what is going on and how they can support it. Tom has suggested -
Suggest you contact your local shopping centre and ask if you can put up a small stand one busy Saturday in the most obvious place by the front entrance - turn up with your bike, in your kit with a cycleasia.co.uk poster + a table with loads more details up there. Use ALL the media to publicise this one event - tell people to come down and throw you 50p (they'll give you a £1 coin normally) - chat about why you're doing this etc. - get the local radio + TV guys to come and interview you on the day - make sure you're on radio the Saturday morning at around 9am and say 'come down - I'll be there'
even better - borrow 2 cycle machines, take them down, ride one and let members of the public ride the other - get the radio presenters to do this - invite your local cycle club to come down and try and break a record or something - get the idea - come up with something interesting, get the media along - the public will watch and then make sure mates are there to collect cash...
3 machines - members of the public to come and help you ride over 600 km's in one day - 200km's per bike
If it looks good enough the shopping centre will help to promote it as they will want to drive extra custom through the door... get your charity involved too - bring an expert along to give advice etc etc etc. - make a friggin show of it all!! you have 9-5 to really give this a push...
I have a lot of fear around this as I don't really want people to know as I always like to try and maintain the illusion of what I believe society believes to be normality!
However, I am stepping through this and interviewed yesterday for a short film for the Department of Health titled 'Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness'. The intention of the film is to try and get the message across that mental ilnness is a normal, everyday fact of life. 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental illness at one point int their life and you don't have to be menatlly ill to have a mental illness. The stigma that is so prevalent in our society prevents people from opening up and seeking the right kind of support; this can lead to the illness spiralling out of control and have devastating consequences.
I don't want people to suffer needlessly as I did and the only way this can change is for people to speak up and normalise mental illness.
Hope I haven't stood on my soap-box too much!
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