Vicky Harrison transformed her life after joining Everton in the Community’s Girls on Side programme, shedding 14 stone and progressively combating the poor mental health which had been an enduring and unwelcome companion.
The uplifting story of how Vicky’s use of physical exercise enabled her to manage anxiety, depression and urges to self-harm inspired fellow EitC participants and generated national interest.
Vicky weighed 25 stone in April 2017 when she was approached before a match at Goodison Park by EitC volunteer manager Adam Howard and engaged in a conversation which set her on an entirely new course.
The latest stopping point came at this summer’s Total Warrior event, a forbidding 12k run covering undulating terrain and any number of imposing obstacles.
Vicky and personal trainer Katie Sayer spearheaded a team in Leeds' Bramham Park raising funds for EitC’s People’s Place, a proposed purpose-built mental health facility in close proximity to Everton's 127-year-old Goodison home.
The duo, who have overseen a number of fundraising initiatives to generate a running total of more than £1,000 for their chosen cause, crossed the finishing line together after two-plus hours of grind.
“I am in disbelief that the journey I have been on in the past 18 months has allowed me to do this… it is quite overwhelming where I am in my life right now,” Harrison told evertontv.
“Eighteen months ago, I weighed more than 25 stone and was self-harming.
“Without the support of Girls on Side and EitC and Katie [Sayer] I might still have been in a rut.
“We wanted to raise awareness of a very important issue. In the time we have run around this course four or five people will have successfully ended their lives.
“They hadn’t the support to talk about their feelings, self-harm or substance abuse.
“That is why I am so passionate about The People’s Place. It is quite possible that if I had not come across Girls on Side I would not be here today.”
Find out more about The People’s Place at peoplesplace.net