A CITY mum will be emphasising the value of listening to others when she braves the Worcester 10k for a charity she set up for those with poor mental health and bereaved by suicide after her son took his own life.
Gaynor Pritchard is returning to the 10k on Sunday for the first time since September 16, 2018, just three weeks after her son Zac died and two days before his funeral.
All the funds raised from Gaynor’s run will be going to Behind the Smile, a charity she founded, and she hopes some of the cash could go towards a base for them.
To mark world suicide prevention day last weekend, Gaynor led people around both of Worcester’s walking bridges on a candle-lit tour, with guests invited to read poetry.
Other activities include facilitating peer support groups, befriending events, arranging days out and social events and, most importantly to Gaynor, listening to people.
Zac took his own life aged 29 whilst recovering from a period of mental ill health.
Gaynor said: “It was preventable, to us he was just unwell and we didn’t think at that time of suicide, it wasn’t something that was in my head because nobody had talked to us about it.
“Nobody was supporting us and giving us advice on what we were supposed to do.
“Since then I’ve been on mental health courses and to suicide bereavement groups.
“It’s just good to feel you’re helping people, I’ve seen people grow and open up compared to where they’ve just come to us.
“We have helped people who were right at the edge and our work has stopped people from ending their life just by listening.”
Gaynor will be completing the 10k alongside one of her Behind the Smile volunteers, Martino Ercolani, who will be celebrating his 50th birthday on Monday.
“When I completed this 10k last time, I took my medal to the funeral home straight afterwards to show Zac, because the year before he was with me.
“The 10k is a bit nerve-racking because I haven’t done much since 2018, I’ve been a bit emotional leading up to it, remembering the last time I did it, but I’m determined to finish.”
The charity, which is entirely run by volunteers, is also looking for more help.
Email [email protected] to volunteer or visit donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/remembering-zac-10k? to donate.