Dean Cambridge, running the London Marathon to address youth loneliness

Françoise Facella
Communications & Events Officer
Dean being interviewed

My name is Dean Cambridge. I’m 24 years old and currently live in Sheffield. I’ve not always been a Northerner, I grew up in Essex and was taken into foster care at the age of eight years old. This left me feeling very confused and unsure of what my future was going to hold. Shortly after being in foster care, my parents no longer came to supervised contact leaving me with my foster carer as the only family I had.

When I started secondary school, it became clear just how much of an important role parents play in a young lad’s life. It dawned on me that I was no longer important in my parents’ new life. This severely affected my mental health.

“The feeling of loneliness and the lack of self-worth at the age of thirteen was nothing but unbearable. I couldn’t find support. I felt trapped.”

Shortly after, my life would change forever when I met a girl online by the name of Kirsten and we started to talk. We exchanged loads of messages and after a while I began to open up to her. That was terrifying. I remember clearly how nauseous I felt after confiding in her about my mental health issues spurred on by my childhood experiences. We continued to exchange messages and every time I saw her typing a response my heart would start to race. I thought, would this be the last message she ever sent me? Is she running for the hills? She didn’t.

Kirsten listened but never judged me. By offering her support, she helped me to talk about my mental health issues. Together we began to repair the damages. It wasn’t until four years later, after speaking to each other every night, that we met in London. That night everything was finally sliding into place. We now live in Sheffield, Kirsten’s home city. We are married and have three beautiful children together.

“I am so lucky to have found someone who understands how important mental health is and was there to offer support in my darkest of times.”

I know what it’s like to feel lonely as a child. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did. It’s a very dark place to be in. So when I discovered the standard of support offered by The Mix to young people in all scenarios and from all backgrounds, I wanted to support them. It’s an honour to be in training to run the 2017 London Marathon on behalf of them as part of team Heads Together. It has been made possible through my employer Dixons Carphone and it gives me a great deal of pride to do it and help those that have been in a similar position to myself.

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Published on 03-Mar-2017