Snow Camp’s Community and Partnerships Manager, Ultra-Runner and Mental Health Advocate Dan Keeley is about to set off from the London Eye to run 1,100-miles in 35 days to the Colosseum in Rome.
Having already run the reverse route in 2017 to celebrate his 5-year journey of recovery with bipolar disorder, ‘Home to Rome’, which begins on Saturday, April 29, 2023, is set to promote a wider social message around the power of putting yourself first when you need to, whilst shining a light on Snow Camp’s work with disadvantaged young people across the UK in the charities 20th anniversary year.
Dan’s personal journey includes underlying childhood trauma which didn’t manifest until his early 20’s; a full-scale psychotic episode in the summer of 2012 which culminated with him ‘preaching’ from the central lane of a motorway in northern Italy; time in psychiatric wards; his diagnoses of bipolar disorder; followed by 6 months of debilitating depression which left him wanting to take his life; during which Dan Charlish and the Snow Camp team stuck by his side throughout.
Dan’s journey back to a stable and positive state of mind took 5 years; during which he received excellent support from the NHS coupled with an extensive amount of love, patience and compassion from those closest to him.
Home to Rome – a decade on from that defining chapter in his life – is a celebration of living intentionally, remembering what really matters most, and ultimately putting yourself first when you need to; a message which – alongside his core role at Snow Camp – Dan delivers regularly to audiences across the UK; derived from his own experiences coupled with his observations from the mental-health landscape over the past 10 years.
Home to Rome is predominantly in support of suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), with a minimum fundraising target of 20,000 to support their life-saving work; united against suicide across the UK.
Alicia Mackay, Senior Manager at CALM, said: “We’re honoured that Dan has taken on a challenge of a lifetime, again, to support CALM. The lengths our supporters go to in order to raise funds and awareness for our cause is staggering, and enables us to continue to be there for whoever is struggling. We wish Dan the best of luck on his incredible journey.”
‘The Alps Stage’ is dedicated to Snow Camp with a £2,000 fundraising target; equating to a full Snow Camp Bursary for one young person or 20 young people being able to join Snow Camp’s 2-day First Tracks programme in Snow Camp’s 20th anniversary year.
Home to Rome is powered by Swift as the title sponsor; the UK’s largest manufacturer of touring caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes with over 1,300 employees. Where-as Rome to Home was solo & self-supported in 2017, Dan’s family (his Wife Georgie and two young children Max and Sophia) will be joining Dan for the adventure this time in their branded Swift Voyager 584.
Chris Walker, Marketing Manager at Swift, said: “Dan approached Swift back in January with a plea for help, we were delighted to be able to provide a Swift Voyager 584 to support Dan on his incredible journey that focusses on ‘the power of putting ourselves (and our health) first when we need to, whilst raising money for CALM. We hope the vehicle will provide Dan with that all important space to be able to recover, recharge and relax on what is undoubtedly a gruelling challenge and importantly allow his young family to be part of this epic adventure.”
Dan’s route runs from the London Eye to Greenwich Park before continuing to Rochester, Canterbury and the coast in Folkstone. From Calais, it’s a straight line to Lake Geneva, Montreaux and Martigny in Switzerland before climbing up & over the Great St Bernard Pass and dropping down to the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps. From Ivrea onwards, Dan crosses the spine of Italy to the eastern coastline before continuing on through Siena in Tuscany then onwards to Rome.
Dan’s aiming to complete the 1,100-miles in 35 days, averaging between 32 and 35 miles per day.
Dan said: “With the memories from Rome to Home still fresh in my mind, and given where I was 10 years ago, to be setting off with my family on this next adventure is an opportunity I’m not taking for granted for a second. Given the momentum that’s building for Home to Rome, I’m delighted to see that my cause & message for this one is resonating again with a lot of people out there. Bring it on!”
Dan is inviting anyone that wishes to join him on Day 1 at the London Eye (Saturday 29th April) to arrive from 8am onwards ready for the 10am start. Runners can choose to run 6.75-miles/11km to Greenwich Park, or continue on to Dartford, Gravesend or Rochester (33-miles in total). Day 2 to Canterbury Cathedral is a 27-mile straight line starting at 7am from Rochester Castle. From then onwards, Dan and his family head south to the coast ready to cross via Eurotunnel into France.
Dan is aiming to complete the adventure on Friday 2nd June at the Colosseum in Rome. Followers can enjoy the adventure unfold via the dedicated website www.hometorome.run or via Dan’s Instagram and Facebook Channels: www.instagram.com/iamdankeeley and www.facebook.com/iamdankeeley