The Explore Bipolar Team
From left to right we are.....
Mike Dave Ashley Andy Johnny
(Chief Navigator) (PR Guru) (Tour Leader) (Pacesetter!) (King of Fundraising)
The five of us have got together to form a core fundraising team. We are all keen cyclists (some are keener and fitter than others!) and the orginal idea was just to do the sponsored Lands End to John O'Groats cycle as a one off event. Gradually it has evolved into something much bigger.. and we are all committed to running a number of events in memory of Duncan, to raise as much awareness of mental illness and especially Bipolar as possible, and as much cash as we can for this great charity.
He was my best buddy and I was his best man....
Duncan Toft Dunc & Anna's wedding On honeymoon Uncle Duncan
My name is Ashley Toft, (above right, standing). In August 2009, my brother Duncan took his own life during a bout of deep depression. He’d been suffering from Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) since his late teens and had been battling the extremes of mania (highs) and depression (lows) ever since. He was just 41 when he died.
I was honoured to be asked to be his best man when he married Anna on a fantastic day in Oct 2008. He was on great form that day, and probably as well as he'd been for many years. Unfortunately things were to take a turn for the worse 3 months later, with a cycle of deep depressions and severe manic episodes taking over his life. As it turned out he was never to reach his first wedding anniversary.
Dunc was my best buddy and also a loving and caring husband, son, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew, cousin..... as well as a friend to so many. He also happened to be a skilled mental health social worker who until a few months before his death, worked for the Early Intervention team in Basingstoke, using his own painful experiences to help others.
Only recently have I understood how common Bipolar is - affecting an estimated
I have also become increasingly aware how prevalent mental illness is in society – and that it is still one of life’s great taboos; a much misunderstood subject which is often swept under the carpet, and thus not always diagnosed or treated as effectively as it should be.
Duncan left us too soon and we miss him so much. But I want to make sure he didn't die in vain. That's why I created Explore Bipolar in June 2011 - to raise awareness of mental health issues and especially Bipolar. Also to raise funds for Bipolar UK, a small national charity with a big heart and a great mission to enable people affected by Bipolar to take control of their lives.
Our mission is to support a fantastic project (Project Link) which mentors and gives support to the most vulnerable sufferers, and aims to reduce the suicide rates by being there when they are most needed. Please see Our Fundraising for more detail and click the 'Donate Now' button (above right) to help us make a real difference.
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