CYCLING’S lycra-clad tribe has helped Glen Hutchinson (44) tackle his self-confessed “dark spaces” before the mental health awareness-raising 16th annual Hawaiian Ride for Youth leaves City Beach next Monday.
“My mate Cam forced me to do it, as I was in a very deep, dark hole, and I’d never ridden before,” Mr Hutchinson said.
Next year, he hopes to join the ride, which this year comprises 172 riders tackling Wheatbelt, Mid-West and south coast routes to Perth to raise funds for charity Youth Focus, which is fighting youth suicide.
The riders, including Mental Health Minister Roger Cook and former AFL champion Beau Waters, will stop at 23 high schools to talk to about 3500 students about mental health and emotions.
Mr Hutchinson said the offer by his mate, seven-time rider and Claremont resident Cam Wilkie (44), made him realise he could focus on his own mental health.
“The charity’s work makes people understand that others care for them, that they can get fast access to professional help and that it’s on-going assistance,” Mr Wilkie said.
Since 2003, Ride for Youth has raised more than $17.5 million, with each rider committing to raise at least $5000 each.
Last year, 54 people between 15 and 24 committed suicide in WA.
“Statistics show more than one young person dies to suicide each week, leaving their families dealing with the abject grief, guilt and pain of losing a loved one unnecessarily, and the ripple effect in our community is profound,” Youth Focus chief executive Fiona Kalaf said.
Each of three groups of riders on the three routes will cycle 700km to Perth, stopping at towns including Katanning, Bridgetown, Mandurah, Geraldton, New Norcia and Northam.
The cyclists will take buses from City Beach to their three destinations before mounting their bikes for the return journeys.
To donate visit rideforyouth.com.au.