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Charity walk from Wicklow to Aviva Stadium aims to raise awareness of mental health


Johnny Hunt.

Johnny Hunt.

Johnny Hunt.


JOHNNY Hunt continues his walks to help end the stigma attached to mental illness on Tuesday when he will depart from Wicklow town and make his way to the Aviva Stadium just before Ireland’s clash with Armenia kicks off.

Johnny is an ambassador for See Change, the Irish organisation dedicated to ending mental health stigma. His walk is part of the Sea Change Green Ribbon campaign, which aims to spread awareness about all mental health difficulties.

Johnny is a massive football fan and follows Reading FC, and Irish player Shane Long was one of his heroes when he played for the club. Johnny has already undertaken four similar walks in England, including walks from Reading FC’s ground to the stadiums belonging to Fulham FC and Bournemouth FC before matches taking place between them and his beloved Reading.

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He has also taken on two walking challenges from Wexford to Wicklow town and from Wicklow town to Dublin to raise money for Shine, the charity behind See Change.

“I have been affected by mental health issues in my life and I really want to help raise awareness and say it is ok to not to be ok,” said Johnny.

“This is why I love being an ambassador for See Change as it really can make a difference. The walk aims to highlight awareness around mental health, and if it inspires even just one person who is struggling to get the support they need then it will all have been worth it.

“The walks from Reading to Fulham and Bournemouth were all about people walking and talking as they make their way to the match. Being part of the walk and talk men's mental health gang and getting football fans to unite for mental health and suicide prevention has been huge, so hopefully it will be similar for the walk to Aviva before the Ireland versus Armenia game.”

Johnny will depart from the grounds of Wicklow Rovers FC at 7 a.m. and should be stopping outside Bray Wanderers ground at around 12 noon. He hopes to make it to the Aviva for 6 p.m., having covered 45km.

“Some people have said they will try and join me along the way, which would be great, but I’m conscious that the walk takes place on a working day and not the weekend, so it might not be possible for some. The main aim is to raise awareness about mental health, while also raising funds for Shine,” added Johnny.

He has established a fundraising page for donations at https://www.idonate.ie/wicklow2avivastadiumwalk. You can also follow his progress on twitter at @huntyroyal #wicklowtoavivastadiumwalk.