Electrolux Professional’s sales guy scaling huge heights for mental health
Richard McKay, our UK Area Sales Manager, has set himself the challenge of climbing the world’s seven highest mountains and takes off in March to take on Mount Kilimanjaro.
He’s doing it to raise funds for the mental health charity MIND, create awareness of mental health issues and dispel the stigmas that surround them.
By the way, he’s scared of heights.
“Yep, there’s a bloke in the company doing something utterly ridiculous for charity,” he says. “I was looking for a challenge to see what I’m really capable of physically and more importantly mentally, but more so, raising awareness around mental health is a cause very close to my heart.”
Mental health matters
Richard has a very personal and tragic connection, having sadly lost his best friend to suicide in 2008.
“I was really traumatized by what happened but told everyone I was fine,” he says. “When I faced it, the charity MIND helped me to get through it.
“No matter how tough you are, people struggle every day. We’ve heard a lot about mental health during the pandemic and I’m hoping that what I am doing might inspire someone who is struggling to make that call or have a much-needed conversation they may not have otherwise had.”
Over the next few years, he plans to climb Mount Elbrus (Russia), Aconcagua (Argentina), Denali (Alaska), Mount Vinson (Antarctica), Carstensz Pyramid (Indonesia) and Everest (Nepal).
If he achieves the feat, Richard will join an exclusive club, given that only about 300 people in the world have ever conquered all of the above.
Training at new heights
His story has been featured in a Catering Insight article and has caught interest from numerous sponsors, including Electrolux Professional UK. And, with the company logo on his climbing gear, he’ll certainly be taking the brand to unforeseen heights.
Despite the fact he’s far from a mountaineering veteran, his practice climbs so far have seen summit him Ben Nevis and Grand Paradiso – the highest peaks in the UK and Italy respectively. But this is another level where training gets serious.
“Physical aptitude won’t guarantee success – you have to be mentally strong too,” he adds. “I am honestly scared of heights and I’ll admit to being nervous. I have no idea if I can do it – there are serious risks involved – but I’m going to give it a damn good try.”