Bike ride a lesson in mental health


David Flanagan, Fiona Cumming, Brad Wall and Jeremiah Peiffer are gearing up for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth. |Picture: Robin Kornet        www.communitypix.com.au d451696.
David Flanagan, Fiona Cumming, Brad Wall and Jeremiah Peiffer are gearing up for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth. |Picture: Robin Kornet        www.communitypix.com.au d451696.

This will be Mr Flanagan’s fourth Ride for Youth.

He will be joined in the peloton by School of Psychology and Exercise Science deputy dean Jeremiah Peiffer and academic chair Brad Wall, as well as first-time rider Fiona Cumming, who is a health and physical education lecturer.

The ride will be held from April 5 to 9 and is intended to raise awareness and funds for Youth Focus and its work in preventing youth suicide and depression.

Since its inception in 2003 the ride has raised more than $12.5 million.

Each person taking part in the Ride for Youth commits to raising at least $5000.

Mr Flanagan, who is also the managing director of Atlas Iron and a former West Australian of the Year, first signed up for the ride after seeing the passion and dedication of the people who took part.

“I was on the Youth Focus board for about three years prior to taking part in the ride for the first time,” he said.

“In the lead-up to the 10th ride one of the riders taking part was unfortunately hit and killed on his way home from training by a drunk driver.

“A number of us went down to Albany to be there for the start of that ride and it was actually the first time that I met the amazing people who take part.

“They literally do thousands of kilometres, getting up in the rain, hail and heat every day to train to raise money to help kids and to stop suicide and depression in young people. After meeting the people and seeing what they were doing, I just knew I had to be a part of it.

“I came back, bought a bike and started training for the ride the following year and I haven’t stopped since.”

Ms Cumming, who works with young students every day, said she was moved to sign-up for the ride in an effort to be more proactive in the area of mental health.

“The number of students that we see suffering from anxiety or depression seems to be increasing,” she said.