This weekend, one of our partner peer support volunteers, Chris Wasley, will be kicking off his latest challenge for APP. Chris is already a seasoned fundraiser for us, having completed a 10K race and an epic coastal walk. But this time his focus is on raising awareness more than funds.
Chris is on a mission to attend a match at every football ground closest to each MBU in the UK.
Here he tells us a bit more about what he has planned and why he's doing it.
'In 2019, shortly after the birth of our first child, our son, my amazing wife Natalie experienced postpartum psychosis.
Our journey with postpartum psychosis has lasted years. And I can honestly say that it is the most frightening challenge we are ever likely to face.
Last year in 2022, we welcomed our second child, our daughter, and thankfully we haven’t experienced it again. But postpartum psychosis has always been there impacting our lives.
Postpartum psychosis is a topic very close to us as a family.
And I have made a promise to help raise as much awareness as possible for this mental illness.
I am very proud of my growing relationship with this wonderful charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP).
Currently there are 22 Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) in the UK who help to provide specialist inpatient treatment to mothers (and their babies) experiencing a wide range of mental illness.
To those who know me, it is no secret that football is a love and addiction of mine.
So I have decided to embark on a personal challenge that will allow me to fulfil my promise to raise awareness of Postpartum Psychosis and to satisfy my hunger for football!
So over the next few years I will be attending football matches at grounds around and closest to the 22 MBUs in the UK.
To raise awareness at the grounds and amongst the football community I will be wearing a rather beautiful football shirt that I have had designed and made that clearly represents postpartum psychosis, APP and the MBUs.
My first game will be at Southampton FC on 15th September, this is the ground closest to Winchester MBU, with my dad Gary.
I know this challenge will take some years to complete with the number of grounds there are to visit and having a young family at home (and work I suppose!), but I am really excited for it and all the good I hope it will achieve.'
Chris is aiming to pop into each MBU on his journey too, to thank the dedicated staff for the amazing work they do. He knows that this is a long term adventure - Chris thinks towards the end, his son might even be old enough to come along with him to some of the games.
Chris had a fantastic time at the match, and managed to get an entry about his challenge included in the match day programme - such a great way to raise awareness of PP.
My dad Gary enjoyed the game with me so that was great!
And here's his entry in the programme:
Chris's next match will be in Accrington later this month, and he is already making connections with dads and football fans across the country who are keen to join him on his challenge.
Thank you Chris for all you're doing to raise awareness!
*** UPDATE 23.10.23 ***
Chris is back from the second fixture of his fantastic awareness raising tour - this weekend he was at Accrington Stanley:
If you're a dad or co-parent that would like to meet and talk with others whose partners have experienced PP, join our virtual Dads and Co-parents peer support social / cafe group - 8-9pm, every 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Zoom joining link: bit.ly/PARTNERMEET. Or, email Simon: email@example.com