Two men are running the London Marathon together. One man saved the other from a suicide attempt by talking to him off the Waterloo Bridge.
Jonny Benjamin considered jumping from the bridge back in 2008. But Neil Laybourn, then a stranger, saw him and went to talk to him out of it. He told him that ‘things would get better’ and was able to bring him back to safety.
Jonny remained grateful for the stranger who saved. So, eight years later he went on social media to find him. He launched a campaign called ‘Find Mike’ which is the nickname he gave to the helpful stranger. The couple were reunited after the campaign went viral fast.
The two men became good friends ever since and they have been campaigning together to raise awareness as well as money for mental health.
They will run 26.2 miles together in the London Marathon today to raise money for Heads Together, a mental health charity.
Jonny, 33, along with Neil, 34, were invited to the run by Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry, along with other runners, in the name of this cause. Neither men have run a full marathon prior to this one.
Increased talk about mental health in the media:
Ten years ago, Jonny was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. He said in an interview to the Telegraph about this run: “It’s going to be emotional, very emotional. But we’re all in it together and I’m excited to be a part of it – it’s a privilege.”
He continued saying: “The last week has been phenomenal, the way that people are talking about it. Everyone’s talking about it, it’s amazing and to be part of it is a real privilege.
“I hid what was going on from my family and friends, and I think if these conversations had been the norm back then I would have been more open for sure.”
Neil also spoke to the newspaper. He said, remembering the day he saw Jonny on the bridge: “When I walked past Jonny that day on the bridge, there was a fraction of anything about mental health in the media. Now, there is an article in the newspaper every single day. It’s like an awakening at the moment, and it’s so great to see that.”
He added: “Being part of Heads Together with Jonny, it’s a really nice time of our lives together where we can try and push that message out there.”
Best of luck to the pair as they are aiming to raise an astounding £50,000 for Heads Together.