by Les Hancock
The back story
In 2009 I came across a really confronting statistic, that the suicide rate of remote outback Queensland graziers was 30 per cent higher than their counterparts here on the coast. Around that same time, I discovered the story of a Melbourne man who was riding from Melbourne to Cairns to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues, after suffering his own battle with depression.
I realised that something needed to happen in this space to create better awareness of men’s mental health issues, so that those who needed help could get it and were willing to talk about it.
My vision, which is now known as Ride West, was a bike ride from Brisbane to Longreach (the capital of the outback) which raised money for the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service by calling on the support from our corporate colleagues and organisations around Australia.
2014 is our third ride and is going to be our biggest yet!
M+K Lawyers has been involved since the beginning – why do you think that Ride West is so appealing to the firm?
An event like Ride West is an opportunity for us to give back to the community.
It’s the perfect marriage of corporate social responsibility and our regional connections (we’ve got a strong connection to the region through our Longreach office).
We can also see how Ride West is making a tangible difference to areas of state that have previously lacked support.
What’s been the best part of being involved in Ride West?
Seeing the passion for the cause amongst the riders who participate in the event; they really get to understand what RDFS means to regional communities, and with each event we’re getting more advocates for the cause.
It’s also really positive to see the support from the event sponsors, whose commitment to the event continues to grow.
How is M+K promoting Ride West – are there any events that people can support?
We’re supporting the Melbourne and Brisbane fundraising lunches, which are great occasions for riders, sponsors and other supporters to get behind the cause and really kick off the fundraising.
The Longreach office will also be doing a number of fundraising activities, so if you’re in town, be sure to drop in to the office.
How many riders from M+K are participating this year?
We’ve got a number of riders in this year’s event. I’ll be riding as will one of our Trainee Lawyers, Sophia Grundy. Two members of M+K Longreach, Mandy Wright and Jacen Carpenter, will also be joining in for the final leg; riding 27kms from Ilfracombe to Longreach.