Trac­tors drive home im­por­tance of men­tal health

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By STEPHEN FERNANE

JOHN Shee­han’s am­bi­tion of see­ing a line of trac­tors make its way slowly through the Kil­len­leigh, Teerni­hilta, and New Chapel coun­try­side as dawn broke over south Kerry brings to an end his own per­sonal jour­ney.

But what he could never have imag­ined was the sheer size of the cav­al­cade as close to 100 trac­tors started to gather at Foil­more Com­mu­nity Cen­tre be­fore first light on Sun­day last – all with the aim of rais­ing money for Reask and Valen­tia Wards at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Kerry.

The trac­tors set off at 6.50am and re­turned again just be­fore 9am. John had his own brush with de­pres­sion last year and ad­mits he was guilty of clos­ing ranks when it came to talk­ing about how low he felt.

He de­scribed the sup­port on the day as ‘just amaz­ing’ but what re­ally made it spe­cial was that it got so many peo­ple talk­ing about their own men­tal health, some­thing John be­lieves is still need­lessly be­ing bot­tled-up by peo­ple.

“Sun­day’s event helped break down the fa­cade and while I’m pleased we man­aged to raise some money, talk­ing about it is far more re­ward­ing,” said John.

“On one par­tic­u­lar stretch of the road, near Dro­mid, there’s a bend and to see the line of trac­tors mov­ing along with flash­ing lights in the dawn was just amaz­ing. I was de­lighted that so many peo­ple sup­ported the event,”

The Dro­mid man was quick to praise every­one who helped make the day pos­si­ble, peo­ple like Dan Tim O’Sul­li­van for pro­vid­ing his yard for the trac­tors, the com­mu­nity cen­tre for host­ing the huge crowds, the spon­sors for their gen­eros­ity, and all those who pro­vided food and re­fresh­ments.

Fam­ily is num­ber one to John and he said with­out the sup­port from his wife Mary this event just would not have been pos­si­ble.

“Mary has helped me ev­ery step of the way and she was the driv­ing force be­hind or­gan­is­ing the event. Farm- ing can be a tricky job as a per­son can spent most of the day with­out ever see­ing a per­son, let alone talk to some­one.

The fact we spent most of Sun­day talk­ing about pos­i­tive men­tal health can only be a good thing. Even the work in­volved in get­ting the trac­tors to Foil­more so early was an achieve­ment in it­self. I couldn’t thank peo­ple enough,” John said.

John now hopes to make The Sun­rise Trac­tor Run an an­nual event.

Photo by Christy Rior­dan

John Shee­han & his wife Mary with the trac­tor driv­ers and helpers af­ter com­plet­ing their early morn­ing Trac­tor Run.

Photo by Christy Rior­dan

RIGHT: The Sun­rise Trac­tor Run makes its way through the streets of Ca­her­siveen.

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