'If you believe mentally then you can do it' - Dublin dad plans to conquer the world's seven highest peaks
A father-of-three is hoping to join an elite group of climbers by conquering the world's seven highest summits across seven continents.
Derek Mahon (55) from Naul in Co Dublin, is completing the challenge to promote mental health recovery.
Mr Mahon, who has already summited world's highest peak Mount Everest, leaves for Mt Kilimanjaro on Thursday.
He is undertaking the climb in aid of the mental health charity GROW in Ireland.
Incredibly, Derek from the Naul in Co Dublin, climbed his first mountain just six years ago.
Along with Mount Everest, Derek has previously climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia and Mont Blanc in The Alps. This week’s climb will bring him a mountain closer to his ultimate goal of the seven summits.
Situated in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain, standing at 5,895 metres.
Speaking about his motivation, Derek said he is a firm believer in "dreaming, believing and achieving".
“Any success, I truly believe, is split between being 80pc mental and 20pc physical. If you believe mentally you can do it, your ability and physicality will add the missing percentage to achieving that goal.
"I believed 100pc I could climb and summit Mount Everest. I never doubted myself. I researched the climb. I spoke to many other climbers. I read books. I viewed You Tube videos. I mentally prepared myself for the challenges, the isolation beyond the rescue of Tibet, missing my wife and family, having to make an effort each and every day to acclimatise, to eat as much as I could.
“I was mentally prepared, believing I could cope with whatever was thrown at me, even before leaving Ireland. Physically, I was in the shape of my life. I had one shot at this wonderful mountain and I was giving myself the best chance I could. The combination of the two - mental and physical - left me in no doubt I could achieve my goal – climb, summit, and return home alive! There were no doubts,” he said.
Derek said people accuse him of being in a middle aged crisis but insists this is not the case. He claims he is "positive, ambitious and driven".
"Too many people do not encourage, do not help or support others achieve their dreams and goals. Surround yourself with like-minded people – achievers, encouragers, helpers – and the world’s wonders and your dreams will become realities,” he said.
Derek has been involved with financial markets for over 20 years and currently works as a Financial Advisor at Tara Financial Partners in Co Meath.
Chief Executive of GROW, Michele Kerrigan, said the challenges that Derek faces in the mountains are similar to those felt by people who struggle on a daily basis with their mental wellbeing.
"For many, recovery from mental health difficulties begins with a single step. At GROW, ongoing peer support, shared experiences and personal testimonies provide inspiration in helping others journey towards recovery."
To support Derek in his venture and raise funds for GROW click here.