The Rotary Club of Victor Harbor bike ride to Broken Hill raised nearly $60,000 for mental health

MADE IT: The cyclists from Victor Harbor raise their bikes triumphantly after arriving in Broken Hill. The bike ride raised nearly $60,000.
MADE IT: The cyclists from Victor Harbor raise their bikes triumphantly after arriving in Broken Hill. The bike ride raised nearly $60,000.

Twenty cyclists and 17 support crew left Victor Harbor for Broken Hill and have been the catalyst to nearly $60,000 being raised for mental health research.

The Rotary Club of Victor Harbor initiative 'Ocean to Outback Lift the Lid on Mental Health' started at The Causeway in Victor Harbor on March 28 and finished 652 kilometres later, at Broken Hill on April 4.

Rotary Club of Victor Harbor president Mark Cox and wife Leonie, who is also a member of the club, after the bike ride to Broken Hill, which raised nealry $60,000 for mental health research.

Rotary Club of Victor Harbor president Mark Cox and wife Leonie, who is also a member of the club, after the bike ride to Broken Hill, which raised nealry $60,000 for mental health research.

It was 14 months in the planning and thousands of hours to make the event happen and Rotary Club of Victor Harbor president Mark Cox said it was "well worth it, as many hardships were encountered, both physical and emotional".

"I am ecstatic to say that we escaped unscathed and what we achieved. Not one puncture, collision or harsh word was encountered during this epic journey. This is testament to the cohesiveness of our group and it was evident that our entire group was enjoying a once in a lifetime experience," Mark said.

"The stories of hardship and depression we heard along the way from locals and those involved in community welfare were confronting and startling.

"Our cause was made even more rewarding with every kilometre."

Mark said a stop north of Burra was tough to take, as locals discussed their issues with the drought and their struggles on a day to day basis just to survive.

"Some were on suicide watch. It was eye opening and so real. Everyone is fast becoming aware that mental health is a serious issue in communities and it is not going away," he said.

"The camaraderie within our group of riders and supporters was one of the unintended consequences of our trip. To the point where there were many misty eyes and a feeling of despair as we reached our final destination."

To date the ride has raised $59,779.00 and Mark stressed every cent will go towards mental health.

"All the money will go to Australian Rotary Health and this is exactly where we want it to go. It will sponsor a PhD student scholarship on Rural Men's Mental Health and the remainder into a fund for mental health projects under Australian Rotary Health."

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