Why Barry's running for Samaritans

When Barry Jeffreys turned 50 last year, he decided to set himself a huge challenge – to run the London Marathon.

Barry has very personal reasons for running for Samaritans; he has experienced difficult times which resulted in him contemplating suicide. On top of this, in 2011, he lost a friend to suicide.

Barry shares his story:

I have had a very turbulent ten years. I lost my business, my house, and my marriage fell apart. I was made redundant twice, having to start again from scratch after losing everything apart from five bags of clothes. I was left with a life time of debt. I have come very close to ending my life, thinking that people would be better off without me. Fortunately something has always pulled me back, but having an organisation like Samaritans there when you are facing the darkest moments of your life is vital.
 
I spent four years volunteering with a community advice service, speaking to people who had ended up in terrible financial problems, just like me. I was involved in a short documentary about how debt has affected my life. Soon after this aired, a man came to the centre, and told me the only reason he had got the courage to seek help, was after seeing the documentary. This proved to me how important it is to talk about your problems, and to raise of awareness of support services like Samaritans.

Just as things were getting better for me, a friend of mine, David, took his life in October 2011. I have seen first-hand how suicide has a tsunami effect on family and friends.

Most people dread turning 50, but I wanted to celebrate this milestone. I hope that by sharing my story and running the London Marathon for Samaritans, I will encourage other people who really need help, to feel able to talk. If bearing my soul helps one person make that call then it’s worth it.

If anyone would like to sponsor me and help raise vital funds for Samaritans please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BarryJeffreys