Paul Emery is a man on a mission, to help raise awareness and make a difference for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
As well as fundraising $4000 to help this national charity continue their work, Paul is taking his campaign one step further by summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
While Paul enjoys the occasional walk or two for fitness, the former Pukekohe Police officer openly admits that he has no official camping experience.
“Working within the mental health sector as a healthy lifestyle coordinator, I am constantly asking people to step outside their comfort zones. So I thought, why don’t I do the same? All while fundraising essential funds for a great cause.”
The trek up the tallest mountain in Africa is expected to take seven days, and Paul says the pace is set to be consistent, with five days allocated for the climb, and two days for the descent.
“I have done a few hikes, and feel that this trip will really test myself. I will be sure to give it a good go.”
To ensure that he is ready for the climb, Paul is walking from Hamilton to Manukau over Friday 28 July and Saturday 29 July.
“I’ll have my support crew, my wife, Carol, and daughter, Carrie, following me for the 125km walk. And yes, I aim to complete it non-stop,” laughs Paul. “I would like to encourage anyone who would like to join me for the first ten kilometres and the last ten kilometres to do so.”
When explaining what he is doing to family and friends, the 55 year old grandfather has been told that he is crazy, which he laughs and says is probably true. But Paul explained that the message behind the trek is the most important part of the journey.
“We need to break down the barriers when it comes to mental health. We need to create a society that openly looks after each other’s well being. That is why I am fully supporting this cause, and the work that the Mental Health Foundation complete in our communities, as they aren’t a government funded organisation.”
To help with fundriasing, Paul will be hosting a general knowledge quiz night on Saturday 22 July at the Pukekohe Hot Rod Club. Registrations cost $10 per person for a team of four, and teams must register before the event by emailing email@example.com
To donate to Paul’s campaign directly, visit www.everydayhero.com/nz/paul or text ‘PAUL’ to 2446 to donate $3.
Paul also hopes that by sharing his journey, it will encourage others to make each day count.
“It is never too late to begin making the most of every day. Just get out there and do it.”