Three islanders are undertaking a 34-mile (54.4km) walk in a bid to raise money for charity Motiv8.

Charlene Moneta, Mark Cromwell and Joanne Standish will all be doing the walk from Port St Mary to Maughold, which includes three of the island’s highest peaks, South Barrule, Snaefell and North Barrule.

The walk, Lynda’s Way, is named after Charlene’s mother who died in 2018.

In 2020, Charlene and her husband Rob Moneta undertook the walk in memory of Lynda and to raise money for Cruse Bereavement Care Isle of Man.

This year, the approximately 13 hour walk, which will take place on Saturday, May 20, will raise money for Motiv8.

Motiv8 is a local charity that helps individuals with addictions, and their families, through counselling, peer mentoring and group activities.

The charity was founded in 1978 under the name the Alcohol Advisory Group, but over time it has developed into supporting anybody impacted by alcohol, drugs, gambling or gaming addictions, and their families.

Annually it helps around 440 individuals and provides about 5,000 one to one appointments a year.

Typically anyone who calls up for help will see someone within five working days.

For Mark Cromwell, who is undertaking the walk and Rob Moneta, Charlene’s husband, it marks the five-year anniversary of recovery from a drug addiction.

As such the group are hoping to raise £5,000.

Rob was going to take part in this year’s walk, however, he has been ill and is unable to.

He will be supporting the group as they undertake the challenge, as will Charlene’s friend Dominique Newburn, who will be undertaking parts of the walk, and Mark’s dog Ruby, who will also do part of it.

Motiv8 was the chosen charity, after Rob reached out to it for support in 2018.

Rob said: ‘I was an addict, and in 2018 I contacted Motiv8 for help.

‘I had contacted a bunch of people, my GP surgery, the drug and alcohol team but they couldn’t support me.

‘When I contacted my GP, they told me that they need to make sure everything’s out of my system before they can give me any help.

‘When I phoned the drug and alcohol team, they assessed me on the phone, and said that I wasn’t severe enough, because I wasn’t fully dependent on the substance.

‘I contacted Motiv8, and it was the very next morning I got to see somebody.’

Rob’s wife, Charlene said: ‘It was heartbreaking for me to see him be that brave, and then to be turned down by other people.

‘Then finally when he spoke to Motiv8 and they said come in tomorrow, there was just a relief for us both.’

He said: ‘When I went in for the first session, I saw a lady, and she let me just talk for over an hour, and she made me feel at ease and realise that things could change and they could be different.

‘I saw her an awful lot those first few months and she really helped me.

‘I’d say the first two months were the hardest.

‘I always felt people were looking at me, everybody knew. I mean, we’re on the Isle of Man.

‘You’ve got all these things going on and Motiv8 just made it so much easier to deal with them.

‘I looked forward to the meetings because it was a chance for me to get away from it all and say how I felt.

‘I didn’t have to worry about getting judged and I could get some advice about it from somebody who knew.’

After the initial help, Rob went back to Motiv8 for support as he struggled with social anxiety.

His wife Charlene also got support from the charity.

Charlene said: ‘I used Motiv8 when Rob was getting sober, I had some issues, I guess that is part of the normal experience.

‘He was sober and that was great, but then the social anxiety was stopping him from doing normal social things, like going to the shops. I had some anger about that.

‘I came to Motiv8 just to talk through those feelings, so when we say it is not just an hour’s counselling, we truly mean it. The support that Motiv8 offers to the families is so important, we go through the impacts of addiction too, so to have somewhere to go to for that support is invaluable.

‘The support we have had from Motiv8 has been life-changing.’

Throughout the addiction and recovery, Rob was in his full-time job.

He said: ‘Nobody really knew, I was going about my day to day life and I was getting away with it.

‘There must be many other people like that who are just going from day to day, getting on with their lives and nobody knows that they’ve got this addiction.’

Since Rob’s recovery, on top of his usual job, he works as a peer mentor at Motiv8.

The charity has 11 counsellors, eight peer mentors and three individuals who work on the administrative side.

The peer mentors undertook a year’s formal training to become qualified.

Nicola Browne, fundraiser at Motiv8, said: ‘The peer mentors add an extra layer on top of a counsellor.

‘One of the peer mentors is a significant other, so they’ve got the experience on the other side of how it is to live with and go through addiction.’

Mark Cromwell, who will be undertaking the walk, is one of the counselling team at the charity.

Mark is a worker by experience having had an addiction.

He said: ‘Life gives you difficulties. Ultimately, it’s how we deal with it.

‘In the past my way of dealing with things was through my substance of choice, but the issues would still be there.

‘It’s important to be able to deal with what life throws at you, and I think recovery can give you the toolkit for that.’

Nicola said:’The fundraising means the world to us. It will mean so many hours of one-to-one counselling that can happen.

‘New people that can come to us, new people that we can support, and just people on their own recovery journeys.’

She added: ‘It costs in excess of £550,000 to run Motiv8 each year and without the support of individuals and local corporations, we would not be able to help those in our community when they need it.’

‘In recent times, the amount of people coming to us for support has risen.

‘There is stigma around addiction, but it is important to note that somebody who has an addiction isn’t sat on a park bench with a brown paper bag, they are going to work. It’s you or I, it’s someone we know, someone we care for.

‘I encourage anyone to make that call to us today, talk to someone and get support.’

Motiv8 has a free phone number that individuals can call: 0808 1624 627. There are donation buckets at Bikestyle and Pomegranate in Douglas.

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