Teacher climbs mountain with washing machine on his back for a great cause

Enda on the climb

A teacher from Waterford has completed the gruelling task of carrying a washing machine up Slievenamon mountain in a challenge for charity.

Enda O’Doherty, 48, set out on the task on Sunday to help raise awareness and funds for the Suicide and self-harm crisis centre, Pieta House.

Speaking to irishexaminer.com, Mr O'Doherty explained his reason for carrying a washing machine up the 2,365 ft mountain. 

"The load I carry is ridiculous and very obvious. The load for someone who is suffering due to mental health issues is invisible yet far, far more difficult."

"10 people per week in Ireland take their own lives as they can't carry the load and don't ask for help."

Video by Mark Power

Weighing around 40 kilos, the washing machine represents the load people with mental health issues carry. 

Part of the theme for the event was that people need support and help from friends and family to carry the load and Mr O'Doherty would be asking his friends to help him carry the washing machine back down the mountain as he couldn't carry the load anymore.

After four months of training, Mr O'Doherty had hoped to complete the uphill journey in a time near the hour and a half mark but surpassed his expectation thanks to support from family and friends who turned up to reach the summit in one hour 20 minutes.

So far, Enda has helped raise almost €4,000 for Pieta House.

Enda on the climb up Slievenamon
Enda on the climb up Slievenamon

A teacher at De La Salle school in Waterford, last year Mr O'Doherty walked from Belfast to Waterford with the washing machine on his back, a distance the equivalent of nine marathons, to try to raise more money.

He is spurred on to complete the challenges for Pieta House after losing a student to suicide.

Mr O'Doherty also wants to raise awareness, recalling how he once turned down a €50 donation from a friend, Warren Doyle.

"I told him 'I don't want your money. I want your talent and ability. Will you organise an event for me?'"

Within months, a golf classic was organised and €4,500 was raised for Pieta House.

Enda with friends and family at the top ofSlievenamon
Enda with friends and family at the top of Slievenamon

Mr O'Doherty plans to keep raising money and awareness for suicide and mental health with plans to carry his washing machine up Kilimanjaro in two years time, but he is keen to emphasise it's all about spreading awareness and helping those in need.

"I'm just an ordinary person, who cares and extraordinary amount."

To donate €4 to Pieta House, text PH4 to 50300. For more information on Pieta House and to get contact details go to their website.

Follow Enda and The Pieta House Challenge on Facebook.

Got something to send us? Get in touch via Facebook or Twitter or else send an email to steve.neville@examiner.ie.


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