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Cycling Land's End to John O' Groats to Help those Trapped in Slavery

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Cycling Land's End to John O' Groats to Help those Trapped in Slavery

After being inspired during the first lockdown by IJM's commitment to ending modern day slavery, Mim Heritage spent last summer cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats to protect people from slavery and violence.

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Last summer I cycled the length of the UK for IJM.

15 days, 1500km, 19 counties, 2 countries, 1,018,383 cereal bars. Climbing the height of Kilimanjaro in highs of 28 and lows of 2. Along coastlines, up Scottish Highlands and through national parks. Lands’ end to John O’Groats. All with one mission – to fundraise enough for 1 whole rescue operation to protect people in poverty from slavery and violence.

Mim

So, what drives a person to do such an impossible challenge? As cliché as it sounds, it all began with Maarko*. Maarko’s story was my first introduction to International Justice Mission (IJM) and the one that inspired me to begin to support and follow IJM’s incredible work back in 2017.

When restrictions hit in March, I think I got stuck focusing on the things I had lost: holidays, plans and hugs with loved ones. But following IJM changed my perspective on this. I saw them highlighting that lockdown for people like me was about keeping us safe but not for Maarko. Had he not been rescued by IJM previously, lockdown would have meant being locked-in with his perpetrator. This was now the reality for so many like him.

Whilst of course lockdown meant some freedom was restricted for me, I knew it was nothing in comparison to those still in slavery today.

This challenged me to think about how I could use my freedom to see others set free.

So, when restrictions lifted last summer, I signed up for my own #JustRide Challenge, as it was one way I could do just that.


That one ‘yes’ was the start of an incredible ride with unbelievable highs. Trust me, there is nothing quite like cycling over the tops of Dartmoor with no one but the views and yourself for company! But also, unsurprisingly, there were a few challenges along the way (hello 11 hours of solid cycling in a Scottish storm and a brief hospital visit).

But despite all this, if you ask me if I’d do it again then the answer will always be yes. 100%.

This ride didn’t just raise money (though I was blown away with people’s generosity) but it raised awareness too far beyond what I could have imagined when I signed up. I have friends and family who might not have donated this time round, but they now follow IJM for themselves and who knows the impact this might have long-term?

I know that one little ride won’t solve the issues IJM’s global teams tackle every day, but this was one step towards that. And the great thing is that one step, by lots of people, makes a movement. A movement towards ending slavery in our lifetime. And that is something I want to be a part of.

My question and encouragement to you reading this would be – what will be your step to using your freedom to see others set free?

And if your answer to that question happens to take you on your own #JustRide Challenge anywhere near Durham then I promise to put on my matching IJM cycle jersey and join you for a leg.

If you’re inspired by this story, check out these links for how you can choose your first step in using your freedom to see others set free:

Could you help bring freedom and take on a #Just Ride Challenge this Summer?

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