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Toowoomba man's mission to climb seven summits

ONE Toowoomba man is on a mission to scale the biggest mountains in the world, to help build mental strength and help others with their own struggles.

Last year, Mark Raby spent six days conquering Mt Kilimanjaro to raise more than $6000 for Beyond Blue and in January will spend 14 days climbing South Africa's Mt Aconcagua.

This time he hopes to raise $10,000 for the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation, for the mental health care unit which he was personally helped by.

Mr Raby, 37, explained he had a bad experience with abuse growing up.

"I never knew what to do and speaking about it was too embarrassing and problems kept getting worse," Mr Raby said.

"I've been hospitalised three times with suicidal thoughts and suffer from PTSD and severe anxiety."

POSITIVE PUSH:  Mark Raby is raising funds for the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation from his climb on Mt Aconcagua in South America. Wednesday, 20th Sep, 2017.
POSITIVE PUSH: Mark Raby is raising funds for the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation from his climb on Mt Aconcagua in South America. Wednesday, 20th Sep, 2017. Nev Madsen

Mr Raby said he had received a lot of help over recent years and was finding it easier to get help now and recognise his problems.

"Getting help is the hardest thing personally that anybody can go through," he said.

Having never climbed before, Mr Raby decided to conquer the summits as a way to give back as well as to do something with his life.

His life goal is to now conquer the seven summits, the highest peaks on the seven continents. To prepare, Mr Raby is training in a gym every day and cycling between 20km to 50km.

"Part of me changing my life was not just medication that has helped me, it was exercise. That is my key survivor that changed how I deal with everything," he said.

"Also why I climb mountains is it's like a test and it helps build my mental strength as it's hard not wanting to give up.

Toowoomba man Mark Raby climbed Mt Kilimanjaro last year to raise funds for Beyond Blue.
Toowoomba man Mark Raby climbed Mt Kilimanjaro last year to raise funds for Beyond Blue. Contributed

"You have to pull hard all the time and it relates to everyday scenarios."

Mr Raby credits the Toowoomba Hospital's mental health acute care team for making him feel alive again. What he wants to change is the process to get there, as patients have to be admitted through the emergency department first, as well as more preventative help.

"Trying to get prevention help first is the key before it's too late, but most of us won't do that. There should be better ways for this to happen than leaving it too late," he said.

Mr Raby has so far raised just more than $7000, with the majority raised through an event held by his workplace, Fitzys.

To donate, go to events.toowoomba hospitalfoundation.org.au and search Mark Raby.

Topics:  mental health toowoomba toowoomba hospital foundation


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