Family and friends of a Wigan dad, who took his own life earlier this year, are raising thousands of pounds for mental health awareness ahead of a charity run in his memory.
Mark Baggaley, an Orrell father of two, died in July after a battle with depression and anxiety, leaving a huge hole in his close-knit family.
He was described as a “funny, selfless guy”, and was a talented guitarist when not at his day job as a skilled upholsterer. In his death, Mark gave life to several others through organ donation, including a 31-year-old man who received his heart and others who received his kidneys.
His sister Julie Aubrey-Williams, who works in the cardiology department at Wigan Infirmary, said. “Mark was fantastic, he was such an outgoing person, but obviously he had more going on in his head.
“He had his whole life ahead of him, but he suffered from this dreadful illness. People hide it so well and don’t really talk about it. We need to bring it more into the public eye, and get them support. We supported Mark a lot because I knew he needed it. I was aware he was depressed but not to this extent.”
Julie, sister Jill and many more friends and family have been training for a 10k run in Garstang, to raise awareness about the mental illness Mark and countless others have suffered with.
It will take place on Sunday, January 13, on what would have been Mark’s 43rd birthday weekend. They hope to raise £1,000 for Mind, the mental health charity, through sponsored participation in the run.
They have already reached triple figures in their fund-raising drive, and car dealership Arnold Clark have pledged to match the cash total, once it reaches the £1,000 mark, to send the total figure to at least £2,000.
Around 60 people will be taking part in the run to raise money, awareness and to remember Mark by doing what he enjoyed doing most.
“Mark was very sporty, he loved running, which is why we thought of doing a run in his memory,” said Julie, who completed two marathons with her brother.
She added: “We were so overwhelmed with the response. It was the immediate family who decided to do it, but when we put the word out, we had no idea how loved he was.”
Mark’s parents, Jennifer and Alan expressed their pride in everyone supporting the run.
To donate to the fund-raiser, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/damien-nicolson
You can also find out more about the work being done by Mind at mind.org.uk