'It's about helping others in my brother's memory' - Dublin star Philly McMahon on new drug addiction charity
Spurred on by thoughts of his late brother and an altruistic sense of purpose, Dublin footballer Philly McMahon has established a charity to help young people suffering with drug addiction and other difficulties.
The three-time All-Ireland winner, who recently helped the Dubs to a fifth consecutive Leinster title, has often spoke about losing his brother to drug addiction in 2012 and seeing those he grew up with in Ballymun endure similar problems.
After taking tentative steps in reaching out to people suffering with addiction some years ago, McMahon has now wholly committed to the undertaking.
“From a young age I’ve been exposed to seeing people in my family and in my area that were on drugs and, in a way, it has shaped who I am and what I want to do.
“I actually get a really good buzz out of trying to help people so it’s something that has developed over the last year and a half.
“In 2012 I developed a pilot scheme to help 18-24-year-olds, but in the last year the drug addiction thing has really come to light.”
McMahon has worked as a strength and conditioning coach, most notably for Shamrock Rovers, and plans to implement exercise as a means of helping people with not just substance abuse problems but all manner of issues.
“We’re definitely going to look at the fitness institute we’re developing. We’re going to look at people struggling with law, education, bereavement, their sexuality – all these things people need help in but are not comfortable with going to the bigger organisations.”
McMahon doesn’t feel it is incumbent upon him to lend his support to the less fortunate - it is simply something he wants to do.
“Once you find that thing in life that gives you that buzz, that’s what you should be chasing. So for me, it’s youths and drug addicts.
“It’s not an obligation but it is something that I enjoy doing. I was very lucky because my brother was on drugs when I was younger and I’m very lucky that I was exposed to that. If I wasn’t exposed to that would I have been on dugs? Probably, because a lot of my friends were.
“It’s shaped me and now it is about trying to help others in my brother’s memory. My family didn’t have the support to help us with what my brother and family members were going through, so I want to give that back to youths and drug addicts.”
The organisation is still in its nascent stages but the wheels have certainly been put in motion.
“It’s a company limited charity and we’re setting it up at the minute and we’ve done a couple of fundraisers. We’re going to trail a couple of programmes and we’ve talked to a couple of organisations about a couple of programmes they’re doing.”