Burma beckons in epic charity fundraiser
“It doesn’t have to end like it did for us”Malcolm McCready
When Malcolm McCready learned about the death of his son from a drugs overdose he was paralysed by grief. But just over a year later and on what would have been his son Nathon’s birthday, he is battling his demons, pounding his heart and leg muscles and setting himself the challenge of a lifetime – a 10 day cycle rude through the jungles and mountains of Burma.
On May 13th 2018 Malcolm McCready’s world fell apart. He had a call from his daughter with news that no parent should ever have to hear. He was told that his son had just died of a drugs overdose.
Malcolm’s son, Nathon, was just 27 when he died and it has been an emotional and at times desperate struggle for Malcolm to come to terms with what has happened. But one year on, with the love and support of his family, Malcolm has set up a special tribute to his son, 27000 Reasons for Nathon. Through this campaign he has found the strength to make a public statement about what he hopes to achieve. To spare other families from being where he is today.
“If I can save one father, one brother, one sister, one family from experiencing the daily torment that my family are experiencing, then I will feel as if I have done something positive!”
Since making that pledge Malcolm McCready began a campaign to raise awareness of drug and alcohol support that exists in our community and raise money for the charity that tried to help his son, EDP Drug and Alcohol Services. EDP runs the substance misuse service in the prisons of Devon and Dorset and the community drug and alcohol support services in Devon, called Together, and Dorset, called Reach.
“I want people to learn that there is support for them and since working with EDP, I’ve seen lots of people that have made positive changes to turn their lives around. It doesn’t have to end like it did for us”.
Malcolm launched 27000 Reasons in August and already he has raised nearly £5000, but with a 10 day ride across Burma coming up in November, he wants to reach his £27000 target and bring some closure for himself and his family.
“Nathon was a loving, caring boy. Everybody who met him loved him. He made some poor decisions and got in with a bad group, which led to a few spells in prison. The substance misuse team prison helped him to get off the drugs and he came out clean. And he’d be fine for a while, but eventually the pull of that group of people in Dorset took him back. It was like he couldn’t bear to be normal for very long”.
Malcolm is now preparing in earnest with his brother-in-law to cycle across Burma. He has been shaking buckets, running raffles, doing street collections and getting corporate prizes to help him reach his big total. But the biggest fundraiser of all is yet to come.
Malcolm knows that he has a huge mental and physical challenge ahead as he takes to the ramshackle roads of Burma, with the heat, jungles, mountains and dust to overcome in order to complete his challenge. He trains almost every day and he’s been posting his training rides on his Facebook page. He rides with pictures of his son on his back and while he has enjoyed discovering new areas on his bike and talking to people about 27000 Reasons for Nathon, it has also at times been too much to bear.
If he can reach his target, he knows that it will bring some sort of closure for his family who have joined Malcolm on his many fundraising quests. The day after they all gathered for a family wedding, they all hit the streets of one Scottish town, wearing T shirts with pictures of Nathon on and raised over £350 from many generous people in his memory. But now he must rely on the goodwill of other fathers who have sons who will be 27, or brothers of men who are 27 or mothers of sons who have been 27 to get him over the finish line.
Malcolm has a Justgiving fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Malcolm-McCready. Whenever he can, he shares a precious memory of his son Nathon to say thank you to people that have donated. Even when he reaches his target he will continue to help people who are going through drug problems like Nathon was. He will be volunteering his time to lead ‘Flourish in Nature’ cycle rides, a project run by EDP Drug & Alcohol Services, Active Devon and the Devon Wildlife Trust to help people in recovery get outside and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, healthy exercise and supportive company.
If you or a family member is struggling with an alcohol or drug problem, call Together (Devon) for free on 0800 233 5444 or Reach (Dorset) for free on 0800 043 4656