Ain’t no mountain high enough for It’s OK To Say

It's OK To Say founder Stacey Turner is in training to climb Kilimanjaro.

It's OK To Say founder Stacey Turner is in training to climb Kilimanjaro. - Credit: Archant

The founder of the It’s OK To Say campaign will be scaling new heights as part of her drive to promote better mental health.

Anxiety specialist Stacey Turner, 40, will be embarking on a trek up Kilimanjaro on June 14 with the dual aim of highlighting the campaign and raising funds for Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

She launched the It’s OK To Say initiative in partnership with the Herts Advertiser last October to encourage people of all ages to speak out about mental illness, confide in others and surround themselves with supportive networks. It is currently applying for charity status.

Stacey explained why she has decided to tackle Africa’s highest mountain: “I am mostly doing this for anyone out there that has struggled with cancer, for those that have lost loved ones to cancer, to honour them and acknowledge our feelings and emotions surrounding such turmoil. I can’t help but feel emotional every time I think of what I’m doing and why.

“We all have a story; my journey entails personal growth in the hope it will be freeing. I will be carrying the essence of those I’ve loved and lost up with me while being grateful for those in my life and the light they bring.”

The mother of two daughters, who lives in St Albans, was inspired to climb the 16,100ft mountain after watching the Comic Relief ascent in 2009, and will be joined by her friend Clare Delaney, who works as a fundraising manager for CRUK.

She said: “I lost my beautiful Nan to cancer six years ago, and know many that have suffered the heartache throughout treatment and understand the devastating impact for those dealing with such loss.

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“For inspiration, I recently watched the Comic Relief ascent - I was in tears, yet it gave me such great insight into what to expect, some helpful tips and advice. It made me realise I need to raise some extra money for charity to supply mosquito nets! While we won’t have the team the celebrities did, I am sure as a team, we will pull each other through.

“My main concerns are altitude sickness and the effects of the altitude plus exhaustion. I am scared, it’s going to tough and gruelling and I will desperately miss my girls!”

For Stacey, the next few months will involve extensive training, including running, reformer pilates, boxing, cycling and weights, plus nutritional changes. She is also using visualisation techniques to help prepare mentally for the climb up the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.

She is excited about the eight day challenge: “I am looking forward to honouring and highlighting the importance of mental health! It is going to be awful and hard, yet quite something, a test of my strength, both physically and mentally through the tough conditions, extreme weather and freezing nights.

“I am doing it with an amazing team of people, the camaraderie will make all the difference and emotionally, all with different reasons for the climb, I’m sure together, we will conquer and take on what Kili gives us, most likely, an impressive impact and change to our lives.”

Clare added: “I am delighted that Stacey has joined this year’s trek to Kilimanjaro raising vital life-saving funds for CRUK. She is also able to highlight her own charity and the amazing work she is doing in the area of mental health.”

Stacey is currently seeking donations, a goal of £4,000 for CRUK (required to undertake the trip) and a goal of £2,000 for It’s OK To Say. Stacey and Clare would also love sponsorship for their kit, which includes backpacks, clothing, footwear, -29C extreme limit sleeping bags and walking poles from an explorer/outdoor company.

To support It’s OK To Say, click here: support CRUK, click here: