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BMW Ireland and Triathlon Ireland have announced a joint initiative to back the suicide prevention charity Pieta House.
Funds that are raised will contribute to Pieta House's 'A Life a Day' initiative, which focuses on raising money for the cost of a full programme of counselling for someone who is suffering with their mental health.
Funds will also support the Resilience Academy, an initiative by Pieta House that teaches school-going children positive mental health techniques and strategies. The Resilience Academy is a six-week, evidence-based programme that was designed 'with schools, for schools'. The programme aims to provide students with the skills and coping mechanisms needed to succeed in school and throughout their adult lives.
Anyone who wants to compete in an event sanctioned by Triathlon Ireland this year will be given the opportunity to raise funds for Pieta House through sponsorship, and there's a hashtag to help raise awareness of what the charity does - #Tri4Pieta. As the title sponsor of Triathlon Ireland, BMW Ireland is backing the initiative.
There'll be some celebrity support too, such as the Off The Ball sports news team, who will be taking part in the Bolands BMW Hook or by Crook Triathlon in Dunmore East in June.
The CEO of Triathlon Ireland, Chris Kitchen is urging the sport's 20,000 participants to get on board and help fundraise for a worthy cause: "The work that Pieta House does is not only lifesaving but life changing and Triathlon Ireland is proud to be joining our official partners BMW to team up with Pieta House. Sport and exercise can play a huge role in physical and mental wellbeing and linking this worthy cause to our sport is for me a perfect match."
Mr Kitchen continued: "I would urge every member and every triathlon club in Ireland to join us in adopting Pieta House as their nominated charity for 2019. We have more than 18,000 participants each year and just look what a significant difference we could make to Pieta House if we all gave €10 each so let's show what a truly generous bunch us triathletes are and do some fund raising."
"Each year BMW Group Ireland employees nominate a chosen charity and this year Pieta House was chosen because the charity is addressing one of the most pressing social issues today; mental health. We are humbled by the work Pieta House undertakes and are keen to raise as much funds as we can for the A Life a Day and the Resilience Academy programmes", said Paulo Alves, Managing Director, BMW Group Ireland.
Kieran Brady, Director Funding & Advocacy Pieta House said: "We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Triathlon Ireland and BMW Group Ireland for supporting 'A Life a Day' initiative and the Resilience Academy, a key pillar in the Pieta House suicide prevention service. Triathlon Ireland will help us reach over 7,500 students nationwide. We are extremely appreciative for their support and fundraising which will go a long way to significantly improve the capability of adolescents to recognise and deal with difficulties around stigma and identity. The program encourages students to reach out early and preventing them arriving at a point of crisis."
Brady added "Our vision at Pieta House is a world where suicide, self-harm, and stigma have been replaced by hope, self-care, and acceptance. Triathlon Ireland & BMW Group Ireland are with us in providing mental health education for young people, focusing on practical skills to help students understand their emotions and develop techniques to cope with anxiety."
Last year, BMW Ireland helped to raise €25,000 for Temple Street Children's Hospital, and the company hopes to raise more for Pieta House this year. BMW Ireland staff, along with family and friends, will be taking part in many Pieta House events, including the Darkness Into Light walk, a charity cycle from Dublin to Belfast in one day in May, doing the Bolands BMW Hook or by Crook Triathlon in Dunmore East, and Two Provinces Triathlon in Lanesborogh, Co. Longford in July.