A BLACKBURN teacher took on a sporting challenge to help him overcome the grief of losing his brother to suicide.

Adam Graham, 28, was one of just nine people across the UK to participate in Bridgestone’s Everyday Battlers campaign.

He embarked on a four-month regime to get into shape for a 10km run, which he completed in London last weekend.

Adam’s brother Damian took his own life in January 2018. He was found dead in a room at the Premier Inn in Blackburn.

Adam said: “My brother Damian had a turbulent childhood and in January 2018 took his own life. It was a massive shock, he had issues but he was incredibly bright. He had been at UCLAN studying to be an English teacher and his assignments were that good they gave him a posthumous degree.

“He was a big character, he did well in his GCSEs and A-Levels and then was in a band playing the guitar for a few years. He was incredibly gifted. It has hit me hard. I saw the Everyday Battler on Facebook and I applied, hoping it will help me.”

Adam’s story touched the hearts of the Bridgestone judging panel, who immediately contacted him to take part.

Bridgestone enlisted the help of diver Chris Mears, who won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics, and performance psychologist, Professor Greg Whyte, with mental and physical support during Adam’s training.

After completing the 10k run, the secondary school teacher at Penwortham Priory Academy, said: “It has been some journey. I didn’t think that this was possible four months ago, but I made it and I want to do more now. Damian was on my mind the whole way round. I know that he was looking down watching me.

“In terms of mental health, people need to speak up and share their feelings. My story is quite a sensitive subject. If people don’t know much about suicide, then they might not want to talk about it, but the barriers can come down when you speak up. I hope that by completing this run, I can get the message across and encourage more to talk about their feelings.

"Damian never talked about it, he kept his issues inside and the mind makes things worse.”

Adam has started a community Facebook group called Rise and Shine Blackburn to support others, and it is hoped that the online community will grow as a result of his hard work both on and off the track.

Chris, who was told he would never dive again after suffering a ruptured spleen 10 years ago, said: “I don’t think the participants quite understand how much they have inspired me."