A “CHALLENGING” adolescence has inspired Bayswater resident Clarise Forte to ride in a 3000km charity ride for young people suffering from mental illness.
The 25-year-old strategy and risk analyst, who works at Arc Infrastructure in Perth Airport, will join her colleagues at the 2018 Hawaiian Ride for Youth – a 3000 km charity ride featuring 190 cyclists across regional WA – from March 20 to 24.
The team reached its target of $60,000 after a fundraising event on February 15, which will go towards Youth Focus to support young people at risk of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.
The ride also involves visits to 23 regional schools and engaging with more than 3500 students about the importance of good mental health and emotional well-being.
Ms Forte, who last rode a bike during a holiday to San Francisco in 2013, said she felt lucky to have the opportunity to give back to the community.
“I (have) experienced quite a difficult and challenging adolescence and having then gone on to live quite a meaningful and wonderful life,” she said.
“It makes me really sad to think that some kids are cutting their lives short and missing out on the potential of what could be so I want to be a part of making a difference.
“A lot of people say that the best thing about the ride is the ride itself – getting out there in the communities and speaking with the kids.
“But for me, I know that even if I don’t do the ride, I will remain part of the Youth Focus community going forward.”
Ms Forte said her team started training in June and was confident of finishing the ride.
“(We do) about 40km during the week and over 100km on the weekend and sometimes we do a double ride to prepare us for the back-to-back conditions and then we will do about 200km in a weekend,” she said.
Ms Forte urged people to “take a breath and reach out” to support services.
“Everything I’ve experienced of Youth Focus reinforces to me that they are deeply committed to improving the lives of young West Australians and care deeply for the wellbeing of their clients and their clients families,” she said.
“Their passion and drive is nothing short of inspiring.”