Warwick cyclists taking on 2019 Ride for Youth for mental health

Partners Isabelle Andrews and Darren Schenk gearing up to raise funds for Youth Focus. Picture: Martin Kennealey d491349
Partners Isabelle Andrews and Darren Schenk gearing up to raise funds for Youth Focus. Picture: Martin Kennealey d491349

WARWICK partners Darren Schenk and Isabelle Andrews are gearing up to cycle 700km for mental health for the fourth time.

They will join more than 180 cyclists saddling up for the 2019 Ride for Youth across regional WA from March 26 to 30 to raise awareness and funds for Youth Focus.

The annual event supports those at risk of suicide and living with mental health challenges.

As a father of three daughters, then aged 13, 16 and 18, Mr Schenk said he first signed up for the ride because he wanted them to be able to use Youth Focus services if they needed them.

“Mental health is an issue that isn’t going away and for Youth Focus to keep providing the services they do to young West Australians, riders like myself need to keep supporting the ride and raising the required funds,” he said.

“Participating in the ride and listening to the experiences and stories of other riders has allowed me to appreciate just how many people’s lives have been affected by mental health related issues.”

He said the most challenging part of the ride was listening to his partner give her talk.

Ms Andrews said Youth Focus was an important cause to her because of her personal experiences.

“I had my own troubles growing up and I was just fortunate that I was able to get the help I needed,” she said.

“I know first-hand how important it is that young people can easily access the support and help they need and how hard it is to admit that you need help.”

For her, the most challenging part is often the school visits, but she said they were also the most rewarding.

“While visiting the schools and communities you really appreciate how important the services Youth Focus provides are in helping young people with mental health-related issues,” Ms Andrews said.

She said it also benefitted her own wellbeing.

“The comradeship and support from the other riders is really important to me,” she said.

“I also find exercise helps me maintain a good work-life balance and being part of something bigger that contributes to the community helps my own mental health.”

Now in its 17th year, the ride has raised $19.8 million for Youth Focus, with each cyclist committing to raise at least $5000 to take part in the ride.

Donate at www.rideforyouth.com.au.