Brad & Dan’s tips to a healthy lifestyle

Posted 23 July 2021

Dan and Brad, two of five siblings whose mother passed away in 2015, are fitness fanatics undertaking a HUGE cycle challenge in aid of Gingerbread. We’re so inspired by their story – and their work ethic! If you’d like to find out more about their cycling journey, you can check them out on Instagram (@foley_brothers_) and find their fundraising page here.

Intro to the world of Brad & Dan

Hey everyone, we’re the Foley brothers, Brad & Dan. I hope everyone is coping okay during the lockdown(s) and thriving rather than surviving! We are writing to everyone to give you a brief insight into why we are supporting Gingerbread and what it means to us. We’re both actually 27 at the time of writing this blog but no, we’re not twins (although that is a question we often get asked whenever we go somewhere new). There are in fact 11 months between us both, with Dan being the older, albeit lesser looking brother! Yep, you guessed it – our parents didn’t wait around. We are very close and have an absolute passion for all things active and endurance-based. Throughout lockdown, we’ve completed an ultra-marathon of 31 miles for fun and we are now planning our next multi-day event with a ride from Derby to Ireland in August!

What does Gingerbread mean to us?

Well, without stating the obvious, gingerbread is actually really tasty. But it is the charity we’re here to talk about and not the food. Me and Dan are part of a family of six: five siblings and one parent. We lost our mother in 2015 aged 46. As you can imagine, this was extremely difficult for us all – especially our dad, who now had to be a single parent to 5 children. Our mum was the most down-to-earth, genuine and wholehearted person you’d ever have had the privilege to meet. She was also the most stubborn person you could meet, which people loved her for! We miss her every day, but we’re extremely grateful for the glue that has bound us together since that sad day: our dad. What a bloke. He has done nothing but give us everything since that day – working every hour under the sun, raising our young sister who was only 13 at the time and still putting on a brave face every single day! If we’d have known the Gingerbread charity existed back then, we would have absolutely used its services to ease the pressures on our dad but, instead, we’re here today: to raise awareness for the single parents’ charity so that people like him can get the help and guidance they need.

How can you stay healthy when something major has happened?

Just to clarify, we are not experts on healthy lifestyles – but we are normal people who live a healthy lifestyle so hopefully something we say or suggest may help someone who reads this post. So just a bit of a background about us both. We LOVE anything active: running, cycling, football, rugby… you name it! Anything that gets us out and moving? We’ll try it! Our main sport growing up was football but we’ve got into running a lot more as we’ve grown up and we’ve both completed one marathon together and one ultra-marathon (31 miles).

One thing to bear in mind when we say ‘healthy lifestyle’… it’s really whatever that means to you. Please don’t take anything we say as gospel as we want you to find whatever it that makes you happy and go for it! If that means trying 100 different things till you find that one thing, then so be it! The only thing that matters is what makes you happy.

Brad & Dan’s tips

Find out what it is you are into
This can be anything. Something that gets your heart rate going and something that allows your mind to roam free. It doesn’t have to be a sport – go walking, rollerblading or even do circuits in your garden. The main thing to do is just keep moving.

Be realistic about how much you can do
A lot of the time we all put too much pressure on ourselves to suddenly become pros at whatever it is we start doing – but we need to be realistic as to what it is we can achieve during this time of change. Start small and build it up. Do your new activity once or twice a week and then progress it depending on how much time you have.

Remember to eat!!
When something major happens within your family, we can all be a little guilty of neglecting ourselves and not eating. Food is fuel! Remember to eat regularly to allow you the energy to keep moving forward.

A problem shared is a problem halved
This is one we both stand by! Speak to people if you need help or guidance. A lot of the time we think whatever it is we are dealing with, no one cares about. I can tell you for a fact, whatever it is you are feeling, someone somewhere will have felt it before. It is really important you reach and speak to someone who can help you or guide you forward.

We know this list isn’t extensive but hopefully some of the tips here will help someone along the way when something major happens, whatever that may be. We used this as a rough guide to help us through the time mum passed so hopefully this can help you.

The Foley brothers

Gingerbread free information for single parents | Bereavement