On Friday July 26, Sandgate resident Andrew Pearson will take off from Busselton, WA, on his Triumph Tiger Explorer for an epic 15,700km ride around Australia.
Andrew is one of 65 other bike riders, who together will embark on a 35-day journey around the nation to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
Known as the Black Dog Ride, this is the 10th anniversary of the national charity ride, which officially starts in Busselton. Riders will cover about 500kms each day and will be riding for up to six hours.
Along the way the group will be making 90 stops into local communities, to talk to schools, local businesses and organisations about depression and suicide prevention.
A keen rider, Mr Pearson said that while he didn’t know any of the other ‘Around Australia Riders’, and that it would be his first time undertaking the national ride, he was looking forward to getting the word out there.
“I just want people to understand depression is a real thing. It’s not something that you can just get over,” he said.
“For me, this ride is about raising awareness, having the conversation with people and helping people to understand there is help available.”
Mr Pearson said he was taking part in the Black Dog Ride after losing six of his friends to depression and suicide.
“I don’t think people realise how serious it is and how many people this is killing.”
Mr Pearson rode his motorbike across to Busselton in early June and will be flying back over to WA prior to the start of the ride.
He has set himself a goal of fundraising $5,000 to support the national charity, which funds small grants for projects supporting mental health initiatives.
“I’ve set up a personal page to support the ride and I’m a third of the way to reach my goal of $5,000. Not sure if I’ll make it but I’m giving it a go,” he said.
If people would like to support Mr Pearson, he has created his own fundraising page called ‘blackdog.chat’ or you can head to the national charity’s main website www.blackdogride.org.au
and make an online donation.