PETER and Diane Simmonds will join motorbike riders around Australia this August, undertaking a six-day trip to Alice Springs in support of mood disorders.
The event known as Black Dog Ride raises money for the Black Dog Institute, with each of the riders gathering sponsors with a target minimum of $500.
Diane said the amount seemed like a lot at first, but the pair have since raised about $4000.
“People we know have been generous,” she said.
As well as ‘for the fun’ of the ride, Peter and Diane wanted to do something to help those affected by mood disorders.
“Everybody knows somebody,” Peter said, speaking of the hard toll of depression and pressures on people today. And if they don’t, “nothing raises awareness like 500 bikes riding into town,” he pointed out.
Despite not leaving until August 18, the pair have packed their gear and tested its drag on the bike – though only essentials are squeezed into minimal space and their miniature flat-packed stove hardly weighs them down.
Funds raised from the Black Dog Ride will be used to support community-based initiatives including education programs, health seminars, and communication and outreach programs in rural communities heavily affected by mental illness.
“We don’t see any of the money, it goes directly to the Black Dog Institute,” Diane said.
Last year, the Ride involved nearly 300 riders from all over Australia on nearly every bike imaginable. Founder and first rider Steve Andrews said the group achieved their goals of raising awareness of depression and helping to break down the stigma, as well as raising funds.
“Please remember, depression is an illness not a weakness and effective treatments are available. It’s important to seek help early and with the right treatment most people recover,” he said.
Peter said the Cowaramup Lions Club has sponsored them with a donation, and various Lions groups along the ride will volunteer their time to prepare morning teas and lunches for all riders.
Sponsor Peter and Diane, or donate to the cause at www.everydayhero.com.au/peter_simmonds