Close to home: Father in ride for youth mental health for daughter


Scitech manager Simon Carroll, whose daughter had mental health issues, is riding to raise funds for the cause in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth next month.
Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d451115
Close to home: Father in ride for youth mental health for daughter
Scitech manager Simon Carroll, whose daughter had mental health issues, is riding to raise funds for the cause in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth next month. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d451115

Mr Carroll, Scitech Science Partnerships director, was diagnosed with sarcoma in 2009, and said he and his daughter Greta supported each other while they fought their battles; his with cancer and hers with mental health.

“Each family has their own experiences of young people and mental health,” Mr Carroll said.

“My daughter went through depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation and at 17; that’s when a lot of social pressures play on the minds of younger people. Greta, during her final year of high school, supported me during my cancer treatment; soon after, we needed to support her.”

To raise money and awareness for youth mental health, Mr Carroll and 145 others will ride 700km for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth from April 5-9.

Having ridden in the event last year, Mr Carroll said it was a very rewarding experience.

“The fundraising has been quite challenging but the need for support has increased,” he said.

Riders will split into three pelotons cycling over five days from Albany to Perth via inland, coastal and Wheatbelt routes, where they will meet at Mandurah to complete the final leg together.

Participants need to raise $5000 each before they can ride in the event.

Hawaiian Ride for Youth chairman Bruce Fielding said the riders would stop at 19 regional high schools and engage students with the issues of youth suicide, depression and self-harm.

“For many riders, the school visits are the most rewarding part of the five-day event, giving them the opportunity to spread awareness of the services that Youth Focus provides and share their own personal stories,” Mr Fielding said.

Youth Focus chief executive Fiona Kalaf said the fundraising target was $1.8 million.

“The riders do fundraising as well as their day jobs and then there is the training for the ride as well,” Ms Kalaf said. “These men and women are the heroes of youth mental health.”

A Back to the ’80s fundraising night will be held at the Floreat Surf Lifesaving Club from 6.30pm this Saturday, March 19.