Michael Josephson MBE is living proof that you can succeed in even the darkest of situations.
After suffering horrific sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and bullying as a child, Michael was so overcome by the trauma of his past that on December 28, 1998, at the age of 20, he decided to end it all.
He jumped off a bridge over the A34 near Handforth and broke almost every bone in his body, but miraculously survived.
And while he was being treated in the hospital for his catastrophic injuries, Michael decided that he would NOT let the bullies win and that he would succeed in life.
Michael, now 42, says: “That was the turning point in my life. I thought: I want to be successful, I want to live, I want to help other young people. Why should I allow others to break up with me?
"I gave in to the bandits by jumping off this bridge. You should never give in to bullies."
From there Michael has worked hard to build a multi-million dollar business and has proudly raised a staggering £3.4million for Childline and the NSPCC over the past 15 years.
She was awarded an MBE for charity services by the Queen in 2016 and is now planning her own charity ball to continue her fundraiser at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester in June.
He describes his childhood as "hell" following the death of his mother when he was just 11, leaving him vulnerable to horrific abuse as a vulnerable child and later in the foster care system.
Despite his turbulent existence, moving between different nursing homes and further experiences of bullying and abuse, he enrolled at the university at the age of 16 to earn a BTEC in economics and finance and got a job in the import-export industry . .
But outside of work, her mental health continued to suffer, especially as she struggled to come to terms with her own sexuality and it spiraled out of control.
He took him to the bridge over the Handforth Road in the early hours of December 28 with plans to end his life.
He recalls: “I used alcohol and drugs heavily, didn't sleep at night and took medication during the day to calm myself down.
"It was the first year that I didn't put flowers on my mother's grave and it consumed me. I left and decided I didn't want to be here anymore.
"I walked to the bridge and my legs were jumping, and the next thing I knew, police there, ambulance there. I think I was on the bridge for three hours.
"In the end I didn't want to jump, but I dug my own grave in my head. I thought that if I came back, I would be arrested by the police or sent to an institution for wasting my time. I just thought I had to jump. But I'm shirking, I have no memory of it.
“After that I spent months in the hospital: broke my back, broke both ankles, broke tibia and fibula in both legs. But they said he miraculously survived. I landed on my feet and if I had landed any other way I would have been dead.
“But while I was in the hospital I knew I wanted to be successful, make money and also give money back to those in need.
"I wanted my mother to be proud of me.
"I broke almost every bone in my body and had a lot of surgeries, but I came out a new man."
He returned to the business he had just started with his partners Stocks Manchester Ltd, buying leftover and discount stock and supplying to discounters.
"People supported me, the business went on, I came back and threw myself headlong into the business," he recalls.
He grew the stock to a £7million annual business before ending the previous partnership in 2015 and starting his own business as Stocks 2015 Ltd, based in Trafford Park.
“We work with companies like B&M Bargains, Poundstretcher, TK Maxx, Poundland and Home Bargains Retailers. I recently changed the angle of the business to move it into a niche and higher segment. We buy really high quality brands, from L'Oreal to Revlon in cosmetics, sunglasses and designer watches, Bulgari Chopard and Hermes, we've done that recently. very important to sell Porsche shoes.
“It makes me very proud, I want to build a successful, high-revenue business and know that I have personally been an achievement for myself and built a business to be proud of. Since 2015 I've built a turnover of £3m, hopefully I can turn that into a £10m business in the next three to five years."
Michael's association with Childline, the helpline for abused children, also began after he was discharged from the hospital when he was invited to be a guest at Childline's annual ball.
He said: "That night I started telling them how I wanted to give back. Childline couldn't help me, I was too scared to call, although it could have saved me from all the pain and abuse, but I was hoping it might help others."
Michael became close friends with Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen, and through Esther he felt empowered to first reveal his horrific childhood experiences to a wider audience when Esther told her story, then to Anonymous, at the annual charity ball.
Michael said: "At the Childline Ball, Esther shared my story and I didn't know if she would let the people in the room know it was me. But as she told the story, people who knew me started looking at me, and three people at my table cried. He asked me if I wanted to get up and I did. That was the first time I did it publicly. I received a standing ovation. A lot of people contacted me afterwards."
Michael decided last year that after 15 years of supporting Childline he wanted to be able to help other charities and reach more children so he decided to start his own charity ball which will support different charities each year.
The sold-out Michael Josephson MBE Inaugural Summer Ball will feature a standout performance from singing legend Lulu, who will perform a 40-minute set with her 5-piece band, raising money for Variety, Children's Charity, Seashell Trust and The Frost Foundation. on Saturday, June 30th
Michael is in a civil partnership with Lindon and the couple live in Cheshire.
He says: “Now I have everything to live on. I have a partner, I am happy and I have learned to love and be loved.
“What I've learned is that you can't hide in the past and you shouldn't look back; You need to look to the future and how you can help yourself and others.
“I firmly believe in giving back.
“It doesn't matter if it's a pound or 100 pounds, giving means something. If you've been through trauma and heartbreak, you know how much it means to help. It's not just about finances and money, I've also tried to mentor other people."
Michael became Variety's vice president of sponsorship and last month launched the new Northern Patrons, which allow businesses and entrepreneurs to make a financial commitment to support the charity and its ethos over a three-year period.
Launch Night alone helped raise over £200,000 for the charity.
Samaritan (116 123)samaritanos.orgoperates a 24 hour service available every day of the year. If you'd rather write how you're feeling or are concerned about being overheard on the phone, email Samaritans firstname.lastname@example.org, write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to locate your nearest branch.
SILENCE (0800 58 58 58)thecalmzone.net has a hotline for men who are depressed or have hit a wall for any reason who need to talk or seek information and support. They are open from 5pm. M. at midnight, 365 days a year.
Children's phone (0800 1111)operates a hotline for children and young people in Great Britain. Calls are free and the number will not appear on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41)is a voluntary organization that supports teenagers and young adults who are having suicidal thoughts.
Alliance Against Depressionis a charity for people with depression. It doesn't have a helpline, but it does provide a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.depresiónalliance.org
students against depressionis a site for depressed, moody, or suicidal students. Bullying UK is a website for children and adults affected by bullying.Studentengegendepression.org
The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029)helps people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, panic attacks or crises. You can call them between 8pm and 8pm. M. and 6 a.m. every night. There are other charities for depression
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