MAXIMUS McNeill has an inspiring story about overcoming life’s bumps and bruises.
Growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and suffering with a stomach disability, he moved to the midlands at eight years-old to be closer to the Birmingham children’s hospital.
With his Scottish accent and stomach condition Maximus was mercilessly bullied at school throughout his childhood, suffering regular beatings too.
He couldn’t even get respite at home, where his step-father verbally abused him, leaving his confidence shattered.
Maximus says it was a time when he could easily have turned to drink, drugs and suicide, and wants to raise awareness for those who do after being bullied.
To that end, he has just completed a remarkable nine day journey from Dunbar to Benalmadena, via Birmingham, Portsmouth, Paris, Madrid and Alicante, and hitchhiked much of the way.
Not only that but Maximus has relied on only the kindness of strangers along the route, taking no food, water or money with him, and filmed the trip on his phone, posting videos online.
He got into difficulty in Paris, where he was unable to get a lift and had to rely on public donations through a Paypal account to fund a coach ticket to Madrid.
From there, Maximus was able to resume his hitchhiking adventure down through Alicante, finally ending the journey in Benalmadena on Tuesday where he is currently taking a well-earned holiday.
The underpinning message of his feat is to let people know that “you are not alone, help is out there, don’t bottle up your emotions.
“Stand up, speak out. Even if you don’t feel you can tell a partner, a friend, or a family member, tell a stranger.
“There are people out there who will listen.”
Maximus has not aligned his courageous trip with any specific charity, preferring the public to to simply donate to “any and all of them.”