CAVERSHAM resident Ronnie Hobbs will run from the Swan Valley to Jurien Bay in September to raise money for returning soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The former soldier said last year he discovered that since 1999, 239 returning service men and women had taken their lives because of PTSD, which prompted him to run 239km to raise money and awareness for not-for-profit organisation Soldier On, which supports veterans and their families.
Mr Hobbs said since then the number of returned veterans who had died as a result of PTSD had gone up to more than 350.
He said this figure was staggering when compared to the 46 Australian soldiers who had died during com-|bat.
“350 veterans losing their life to something preventable is not good enough,” he said
“The main idea behind the run is to raise awareness that this is happening and how important it is for us to look out for each other and pick up the phone if you are having trouble.”
The 39-year-old said he had personally felt the impact of PTSD after losing a friend to the disorder.
“My premier coach in Townsville, who I had an enormous amount of respect for, lost his battle with PTSD and left two daughters behind – that was really hard for me,” he said.
Mr Hobbs has already raised $3000 for Soldier On in the lead up to his run, with the support of the Ellenbrook Eels Senior Football Club and the Ellenbrook RSL sub-branch.
He said he hoped to raise more money to help veterans and their families.
“You see some nasty things as a soldier and 99 per cent of soldiers who are deployed overseas return physically but not mentally; there are many scars, but some have more than others,” he said.
“There are so many triggers and it’s easy to feel isolated when you are discharged and return to civilian life, but it’s important to talk about it and seek help if needed.”
Mr Hobbs said he was running about 60km a week in training for the run, but hoped to bowl over the whole 239km in a week.
He said his family, some friends and the Ellenbrook RSL sub-branch would be his support crew along the run.
If you would like to support Mr Hobbs in his journey, follow his page Ronnies 239k Challenge on Facebook or donate direct to Soldier On at https://www.soldieron.org.au.