MATHEW Jones will do anything to help a mate, including jumping on his bike and cycling right across the Nullarbor.
Mr Jones will be joining friend and former Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment Warrant Officer Laurie “Truck” Sams on The Long Ride Home, a 10,000km, six-month bike ride from Vietnam to Sydney in support of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Living with PTSD himself following a stint in South Vietnam, and cycling with a prosthetic after losing his leg in a parachute accident in 1995, Mr Sams said he knew from experience what it was like to live with those demons.
“I’ve been down that dark tunnel and the experience made me want to help others who have had to deal with trauma-related injury, not just soldiers but police, firies, ambos, nurses and other emergency workers as well,” he said.
Also a former SAS soldier, Mr Jones will be joining the ride when it leaves Perth on September 5, cycling across the Nullarbor as a support rider as the group make the final run to Sydney.
He said he watched many good mates suffer with PTSD and that he believed in this awareness effort.
“Most PTSD sufferers have a feeling of isolation, they need to know that people do appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifices that they have made,” he said.
“To be honest it is frustrating watching people I have served with isolate themselves when I know that it is the worst thing that they can do.
“It is very important for me that there is more awareness about PTSD, the main reason is that most of the people I know with PTSD don’t acknowledge it as they feel it is a sign of weakness if they do, so they suffer in silence, raising awareness will try and break that mind set.”
Visit www.thelongridehome.com.au to donate.