Novice cyclist and Special Forces Veteran takes on Pan American Highway challenge to raise funds for Heads Together.
As a soldier with the UK Special Forces unit the Special Boat Service, Dean Stott pushed himself to the limit executing the most harrowing of missions. He describes his new venture, a quest to break the world record for cycling the length of North and South America, a total of almost 14,000 miles, as ‘the biggest challenge of my life’.
Though Stott has never cycled competitively, he announced today that he plans to spend 2017 training for his 2018 Pan American Highway Challenge. He plans to use the journey to raise awareness and more than £1 million for a campaign whose mission entails helping those whose everyday lives include the sort of struggle that he expects to face on his bike.
“Physically it’s going to be hard. Psychologically, it’s probably going to be harder,” declared the 16-year veteran of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
With close friends in the military suffering from PTSD, I was keen to focus on mental health. I'm aware that mental health is an area that affects all walks of life and not just military personnel and so I wanted to raise that awareness and lift the stigma that accompanies it."
One of the goals of the Heads Together organisation is to enable people to be open with their mental problems, in much the same way that Stott must be with his own difficulties during the project.
HRH Prince Harry, co-founder of Heads Together and ex-colleague of Stott, said I want to thank Stotty for making Heads Together the nominated charity for this challenge,”.
He knows how important it is to me that we make sure anyone who is struggling feels able to talk openly about it, and gets the support that he or she needs.”
Heads Together is a mental health campaign led by The Royal Foundation in partnership with YoungMinds and seven other charities. The aim of the campaign is to challenge mental health stigma and change the national conversation on mental wellbeing.
You can lend your support to Dean on his fundraising page.
Find out more about the challenge and the man himself on his website