Men working out at WIT gym for the Movember challenge
Workout fundraiser at WIT LondonImage by: WIT
Men working out at WIT gym for the Movember challenge
Gerard and his team at WIT London gym posing for camera
8 November 2023

Why I Mo: Gerard Ellis

3 minutes read time

I’ve personally experienced and witnessed many challenges that effect men’s health. My family has had various struggles with their mental health. My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer but, thankfully, is now recovered. And prior to the COVID pandemic, I found myself isolated and struggling with my mental health.

I’ve always been a social and active person who thrives off being around people. After graduating university, my social network reduced. The majority of my friends had left but I chose to stay in Newcastle to work.

" I've seen the positive impact that reaching out and having a strong sense of community can have "

I found myself feeling isolated and lacking a feeling of social connection. This was combined with a rugby injury limiting my ability to exercise or take part in sport; two passions of mine.

I was left wishing the weekends and evenings would be over quickly, so I could get back to work on Monday. At work was where I felt I had my only source of community or connection. I’d find myself having crashing lows and feelings of anxiety that were growing more into my daily life. I also began to close myself off from friends. It felt as if I had stopped living and was just existing.

A trip to connect with friends in Aviemore, Scotland, made me the happiest I had been in months and that signaled to me that it was time to make a change.

I told them how I’d been feeling and began making plans. I also decided that I needed a sense of purpose. So I volunteered for Shout, the crisis text line. From this, I witnessed the struggles that people across a range of ages were going through, with many contemplating suicide. 

Although this has all been difficult, I've seen the positive impact that reaching out and having a strong sense of community can have. 

That’s why I chose to get involved with Movember. Fundraising for Movember each year has given me a real sense of purpose. I can be part of the men’s health movement. 

How I’m fundraising for Movember in 2023

This year, to raise money for Movember, I’m part of a team that each rowed a marathon, ran a marathon, and cycled 100km… all in one day. We called it the Iron Mo(ron).

I have taken part in challenges for the past five years and have realised two things;

  1. There is something about pushing yourself physically and mentally as a part of something bigger that makes you realise there are no limits to what you can do.
  2. As more people join in each year, the sense of community it brings and the money that can be raised is invaluable. 

The event was hosted at WIT London, on November 4th, with a group of us competing the entire challenge and a larger group joining throughout the day to take part in their own individual challenges. 

It was a fun and energetic day, that brought a sense of community as well as raised money for an incredible cause. 

My tip to you

Take the first step. If you’re struggling with your mental health, as hard as it may seem, it’s important to take action. This could be reaching out to friends, exercising, finding something that gives you purpose, or seeking professional support. This may look different for everyone and it might not be the long-term solution, but it’s a first step towards a sense of ownership for how you feel.

Support Gerard’s epic challenge as he row’s, cycles and runs for men’s health.