Caitlyn Buchanan, 22nd October 2019
In September, the Company Bureau team set a goal of raising €5,000 for Pieta House, Suicide and Self-harm Prevention Centres when deciding to do the ‘Hell & Back’ Challenge. When the fundraiser closed on 17th October, the team had smashed the target raising a total of €7000!
Choosing a Cause
In early September, the team decided to compete in the ‘Hell and Back’ challenge on 5th October as a teambuilding event and a means of giving back to the community and raising funds for charity. Choosing a charity to support wasn’t easy, as there are so many worthy causes that need support. But given that Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) was coming up and the Hell & Back challenge would take place at the start of Mental Health Week in early October (7th – 11th) Pieta House seemed to be the perfect fit. The fundraiser launched on 10th September and the staff set to work seeking donations and sponsorship leading up to the Hell and Back challenge.
Pieta House provides free professional therapeutic services across Ireland for people who are in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm. Pieta House’s mission hit us close to home with some of us having been bereaved by suicide. The staff are very passionate about this cause and even those who were unable to take part in the event were active in fundraising. Company Directors Paula Horan and Andrew Lambe covered the Hell and Back entrance fee for anyone who wanted to participate and also sourced the team T-shirts so that 100% of the funds raised would go directly to Pieta House.
The Hell and Back Challenge
The team had 4 weeks to train and prepare for one of Ireland’s toughest mental and physical endurance challenges. The gruelling course includes crawling through bogs, climbing hills, and a variety of man-made obstacles. On Saturday 5th October, decked out with green face paint and hair dye, the Company Bureau team were ready to face the Hell and Back challenge! We soon discovered just how closely related our challenge was to Pieta House’s mission. Hell and Back is not a competition, it is a challenge where assistance from those around you is vital to success. Similar to overcoming mental health issues, it can’t be done alone, and perfect strangers can become your closest allies pulling you through.
What the team said about their Hell and Back Experience
The Ice Bath
The dreaded Ice Bath was one of the first obstacles but surprisingly that wasn’t the coldest part of the challenge. Our bodies were already warmed up with adrenaline pumping and the ice bath was so cold that the body was more shocked than cold.
What was the most Challenging Part?
The 3 lake challenges. The first challenge was to run across a line of floating mats and jump into the cold water, after swimming to the edge and climbing out the next challenge was to go down a slide into the lake and finally just when we thought it was all over the third challenge was to jump off a 10 foot drop and plunge back into the cold water! Brr!
Did you get dirty?
Yes! The muddy swamp challenges were the dirtiest but also a lot of fun. My parents said I always enjoyed playing in the mud as a child! – Marie
What obstacles stuck out in your mind as the most memorable?
Getting zapped by the electric shocker taser obstacle. Being hit in the head was similar to taking a punch in the face.
What was the most Fun Part?
Team bonding before, during and after the challenge, I enjoyed the obstacles where we all helped each other. -Jack
Do you have any funny stories from the day?
Yes indeed. Seeing Andrew running down the side of the mountain with 2 logs under his arms like Rambo!! – Ian
I was climbing over a large wall and one of my legs was still hooked over the top. Another competitor was climbing up so I didn’t want to pull my leg over and risk kicking her in the head, so I told her, “Climb up my leg!” – Caitlyn
We were just over halfway through the course when Caroline helped motivate us by talking about going to the movies and eating nachos later that evening. This had a roll-on effect and sparked a conversation with the group in front of us about nachos. Everyone was happy for the distraction. – Carolyn
What was the most rewarding part?
Everyone agreed that crossing the finish line and knowing that it was all for a good cause was the best part of the day. It was a rewarding experience overall and most of the team said they would take on the challenge again.
The Company Bureau team would like to thank our clients, suppliers and friends who have supported us in our cause and we are humbled by your generosity. After the Hell & Back fundraiser closed, Commercial Director, Andrew Lambe & Marketing Executive, Caitlyn Buchanan presented the cheque to Pieta House. The staff at Pieta House expressed their sincere gratitude for our efforts and informed us the funds raised will help at least ten people to avail of assessment and counselling. If your team would like to contribute to Pieta House check out Feel Good with Pieta to organise your fundraiser.