Hastings and Hong Kong could hardly be further apart – both in distance and culture – but not to Harry Wiseman.
The 23-year-old from Hastings plans to cycle from his hometown to Hong Kong, travelling more than 12,000 miles, covering 12 countries and two continents over the period of one year. The reason for this mammoth adventure is to raise money and awareness for the Campaign Against Living Misery (CALM).
Such a huge task requires genuine drive and Harry has no shortage of that after his brother Tom passed away in 2011, aged 21. This happened following a Methadone overdose after Tom drank a substantial amount at a party. He then fell asleep and suffered cardiac arrest.
Harry explains: “Tom was massively into football from an early age, he was pretty good too, but after getting a permanent knee injury he turned to drinking and drugs as an escape.”
He added: “I was sitting in the front room on Mother’s Day when I see a police van pull up, two officers get out and knock on my door. I open it and assume he’d been put in the cells for the night. The officer then tells me my brother’s had a cardiac arrest and died. The hardest part is watching what it did to my mum, I guess it’s the same with all parents who lose a child, they blame themselves.”
These issues led Harry to substance abuse, which seemed like a far easier option than facing up to the loss of his loved one.
Harry said: “My life goal was to drown out all emotions with drink and drugs, just like Tom. In a weird way using drugs made me feel closer to him. From 16 to 21 I spent quite a lot of time in and out of hospital from overdoing it with drugs. I was arrested a few times too. After a heavy week of drinking and using a concoction of drugs I fully lost it and started hallucinating that Tom was speaking to me.”
Following his last trip to hospital, Harry realised that he needed to face up to his problems and try to get sober.
Fortunately, with the help of his girlfriend and his mother, he was successful and has been sober for almost two years. Ironically, Harry turned to sport to help turn his life around – the very thing that forced Tom to use drugs when sport was no longer an option.
Despite this challenging episode, Harry looks for the positives. He said: “Tom never got to travel the world, so I want to see it for the both of us.”
Harry is aiming to raise £10,000 for CALM – a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. For more details or to donate, visit https://wisemanstour.com/.
Written by Alastair Choy