Introducing Scott McGimpsey, whose journey through the care system has fuelled a passion for change. From foster homes to building a successful personal training business, he stands as proof that you can turn your life around. Now, as he prepares to climb Mont Blanc, he aims to shed light on the Madlug movement and the experiences of children and young people in care. Read on to learn more about his inspiring story.

Scott first entered the care system at the age of four, experiencing a combination of foster homes, childrens homes, and supported living until he turned 18. In Scotts words, hes seen it all” and he felt the profound lack of stability and security that many children in care experience at a young age.

Mont Blanc represents more than just a physical ascent for him – it's a symbolic journey of hope and resilience. Scott draws parallels between the gruelling climb and the struggles faced by care-experienced children and young people. 

"The easiest way to explain it is that you're like, drowning,” he says. You dont always know when your next meal is, when your next placement is, or where your next hug or nice talk is going to come from. You don't have any security. 

Climbing Mont Blanc is me trying to put myself back in that really challenging environment. I wanted to pick the most testing thing that I could possibly do to inspire hope for these kids.

I want a young person to look at this and think he's been where Ive been, and now look where hes been able to go.

If they are feeling in a dark place and their life isn't going the way they wanted it to or they don't feel like they have direction, I want this to give them hope to make those plans that they've been scared of. 

If just one kid can look at this and say I want to change my life, thats good enough for me.”

The challenge

Standing at over 4,800 meters above sea level, climbing Mont Blanc is not for the faint of heart. Preparing for such a monumental challenge requires more than just physical fitness – it demands mental fortitude and unwavering determination. Scott's training regimen has included climbing seven peaks across the Mourne Mountains, as well as tackling the three largest peaks in the UK. 

But beyond the physical exertion, Scott is mentally preparing himself for the journey ahead.

This will be probably the hardest test of my resilience and of what I'm capable of,” he says. His approach is to expect the unexpected and to go in with a curious mindset. Its about trusting my instincts and just putting one I'm putting one foot in front of the other.”

Scotts inspiration

Despite facing abuse, violence, and substance issues throughout his childhood and teenage years, Scott stayed silent out of shame and fear of judgement. 

Theres still that stigma around young people that they're just bad’ – and that's just not true,” he says. Sometimes you get dealt a bad hand and you can fall into the wrong crowd, but Im testament that if you trust in yourself and have a vision and a direction for where you want to go, then you can completely change your life.

I guess my reason why I train and do all these extreme things is because there's part of me who's still this scared little child that I was. I think that will always be with me. 

I was in foster care for about 14 years. My mum died, my dad died, my brother died, friends died. There was a lot that I couldn't control, and that led me to lose control within myself.

Every time I do something like this, I come away with more compassion for that child who was so scared for so many years.

Doing these things in a controlled environment is a way for me to control that fearful part of myself and be inquisitive about who I am. And it helps me to control my emotions as well. 

Scott found solace and strength in sports, particularly football and boxing. These activities became more than just pastimes; they became lifelines, offering Scott an escape from the hardships he faced daily.

Without sport, I wouldnt be here. I also wouldn't be changing other people's lives without it as well.”

Bend Dont Break

Fast forward to today, and Scott stands as a testament to the power of perseverance and the human spirit. Through sheer determination and unwavering resolve, he carved out a career as a personal trainer, setting up his business Bend Don’t Break, where he uses his own experiences to uplift and inspire others.

Through his online coaching programs, Scott guides clients step-by-step toward their goals.

What I enjoy about my job most is seeing people break down their barriers. I had one client who came to me with no gym experience and he wanted to run a marathon. I said no problemand he didnt believe me it was going to happen.

I broke it down step-by-step for him and by the end, he ran the marathon. He's also competing in fitness events around the world now. This guy was overweight, he had no confidence, he had no self-belief, and he basically had no direction. He was overwhelmed with stress, and he had no idea where he was going in life. And what he has now found out about himself is what I enjoy most about my job – its seeing him realise that he is capable. 

A really good coach will just ask you questions, and those questions will be thought-provoking. And the thoughts that you then come up with develop into belief systems, and the belief systems turn into actions that you go and execute. That's my job.”

Raising awareness

Through his climb, Scott hopes to shine a spotlight on Madlug. His support for the brand is rooted in his belief that every child deserves dignity. They deserve to be valued and they deserve to be respected,” he says.

After reading the story behind Madlug, Scott said it struck a chord within him. The hardships faced by children in care are often overlooked. The way Dave and the team are making a difference is really inspiring to me.

I want to raise awareness around this cause so that they get the recognition that they deserve because they're changing lives. People think it's just a bag, but I can tell you first-hand that whenever you put your clothes in the same thing that rubbish goes into, there's no worse feeling.

It gets thrown into a car and you don't know where you're going. Its demoralising.”

A final note 

For anyone reading this who is looking to embark on a similar adventure for a meaningful cause, Scott gives the following advice: Figure out why you're doing it and make sure that those reasons align with your values.

If you want to help someone, then go and help someone. You can buy a homeless person a sandwich, or you can buy someone a coffee in a coffee shop. If you want to do a random act of kindness for someone, you should always, always, do it. Tomorrow isn't promised.

I want to get to the end of my life and be able to look at all the good things that I did. I want to know that I left a stamp and that people were helped because of my work, regardless of whether it's charity, coaching, or anything else. Theres so much negativity in the world, so be a beacon of light. If you're on the fence about doing something for a charity or you don't know where to start, just do it, no matter how small. 

The world needs more people serving others. There's enough people out there serving themselves.”

If you would like to donate to Scotts climb, you can do so by visiting his JustGiving page here. To help us remind every child and young person that they are incredible, please share this blog with your friends and family. 

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