As a child or young adolescent there are many things that a person may dream of becoming; an astronaut, a doctor, a TV star and so on. For me, I wanted to become a DJ, which I can fortunately say I have accomplished. However I never expected to become an ambassador of a charity, especially one that is so close to my heart.
In September 2016 I went through a traumatic experience that left me feeling alone whilst battling the thoughts of taking my own life. I did what I believed to be the only option, worked as much as possible and didn't talk about what I had been through due to the fear of not being believed and being seen as less of a man. It wasn't until the following January that Survivors Manchester started to help me see that life was still worth living, I wasn't alone and I could regain the power and control taken from me.
Survivors Manchester is a survivor-led/ survivor-run voluntary organisation that creates and facilitates a safe space for male survivors of sexual abuse and rape to work through personal and sometimes painful issues. Duncan Craig, my close friend and fellow survivor, started Survivors Manchester with just £250 and a pay as you go mobile phone. Thanks to his hard work and dedication in a short space of time he has managed to turn Survivors Manchester in to a charity that has helped and continues to help hundreds of male survivors in the North West year upon year. What an inspirational man he is.
It wasn't long before I wanted to give something back to this incredible organisation. I decided that not only did I want to raise much needed funds but also I wanted to turn my experience into something positive by encouraging other male survivors to break their silence and raise awareness of an issue, which has always seen to be taboo. I met Duncan for the first time and pitched the idea of the "48 Hour DJ Marathon" which I later completed in July of this year. Thanks to the continued support of Duncan, Survivors Manchester, Becky Roberts and a number of other people I raised over £6500 for Survivors Manchester and raised awareness of male rape worldwide.
Less than a year had passed since that night in September and I had managed to achieve what I had set out to along with so much more. I couldn't of been happier; well that is what I thought at the time.
Whilst walking through Manchester city centre Duncan asked me something that I could never of imagined, "How do you feel about becoming an ambassador of Survivors?" I didn't know what to say, it was so unexpected. A tear came to my eye as I responded with ,"I'd love to". I'd be lying if I said it wasn't something that I had thought about but I believed that only celebrities became ambassadors of charities because of their public profile, it wasn't something I expected to ever be possible.
I can honestly say that it is a honour to become an ambassador of such an amazing charity which supported me through the most difficult time of my life and continues to do so for so many other male survivors. I can put in to words how proud I am to represent this charity with all of my heart. It's a dream come true, a dream that I never knew I had.
Thank you Duncan, my fellow ambassadors and everyone else that is a part of Survivors Manchester. I hope that I can be a credit to your already incredible team of people.