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Get on your boots: Adam steps into limelight for charity

Irish Independent, March 21, 2012
By: Ken Sweeney

 

These shoes are made for rocking. Long known as the shyest man in music, U2's Adam Clayton let his footwear do the talking yesterday.

The bass player took time out from recording the group's 13th album to help launch 'Walk In My Shoes', a new initiative from St Patrick's University Hospital in support of positive mental health for young people.

Wearing a pair of eye-catching Christian Louboutin black studded shoes, the 52-year-old was following in the footsteps of his mother, Jo Clayton.

Mrs Clayton was a founding member of the Friends of St Patrick's and a tireless fundraiser for the Dublin hospital, located between Heuston Station and St James's Hospital, until her death last year.

Essential

"I think it is essential to take care of people with mental health problems. Money raised will be used to help put young people back on the road to mental health," Adam told the Irish Independent.

Eimear Keohane, fundraising manager of St Patrick's, praised the guitarist for taking on the role as ambassador for 'Walk In My Shoes'.

She revealed he was carrying on the good work done by his late mother who passed away, aged 77, last August after a battle with cancer.

"We are honoured today that Adam is continuing in his mother's footsteps by promoting the 'Walk In My Shoes' campaign," she said.

"Jo Clayton was a valued fundraiser for the St Patrick's Hospital Foundation for many years, from the early 1970s."

Sarah Surgenor, communications manager of St Patrick's University Hospital, said the presence of the famous rock musician at the launch would help raise awareness of the need for funds to support young adults in need of mental health services.

Mr Clayton last wore his black studded Louboutin shoes, worth €500, at a party he hosted to celebrate his 52nd birthday last week.

RTE's John Murray and Daithi O Se, rugby pundit Brent Pope, snooker player Ken Doherty and 'Dragon's Den' member and publisher Norah Casey were among others who took part in the launch.

Snooker player Ken Doherty, who wore striking spats, said his motivation for getting involved was the loss of so many young lives. "I have been to eight funeral in the last two years, and seven of those were suicides. The most important thing is that people in difficulty talk and don't bottle it up," said Mr Doherty who said there was a lot of "pressure" on sports stars.

'Dragon's Den' star Norah Casey, who walked into the Four Seasons wearing two odd shoes, said that as CEO of Harmonia, Ireland's largest magazine publishing company, she made a point of taking on employees who were open about suffering from depression.

"I think it's brave of them to own up to it, and therefore I should be brave as an employer. But I think sometimes employers are scared of taking on people with mental health issues," said Ms Casey, who at one point in her career nursed in a psychiatric hospital.

John Murray of RTE Radio One, the official radio partner of the campaign, said life had grown "more difficult" for young people in recent years.

"Young adults once moved from school to college to work but things aren't like that any more, which has a lot of parents worried. Any campaign that helps to raise awareness of how young people cope with issues they may be struggling with is worth highlighting"

The campaign name originated from a young service user at St Patrick's University Hospital who said he wished his "friends could walk in my shoes" so they could understand his mental illness.

Taking place on April 26, 'Walk In My Shoes' will see people all over Ireland wearing unusual or mismatched shoes while donating €2 to provide mental health services to young adults aged 18 to 25 years.

More details can be found on www.walkinmyshoes.ie.

(c) Irish Independent, 2012.

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