A record number of riders will saddle up for the historic 20th Hawaiian Ride for Youth to raise critical awareness about youth mental health and suicide prevention across regional Western Australia.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary, 16 of the original 24 riders who started the event in 2003, will ride alongside their children on the original route.
In total, more than 200 riders will embark on the arduous 700km journey from March 22 to 26, 2022.
Since its inception, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth has raised an incredible $26 million.
Hawaiian Ride for Youth Chair Christina Matthews said the event not only raised important funds for Youth Focus but provided a conduit for young people to openly discuss mental health and wellbeing, particularly in regional WA.
“This year marks a special milestone for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth, our 20th event,” Ms Matthews said.
“The impact of the event, the funds raised and the lives touched over this time is immeasurable.
“Not only does the ride raise money to support young people in WA, but it is a fundamental platform that facilitates important conversations about youth mental health and the challenges faced by young people today.
“Each and every person who has been involved in the ride during its 20-year history feels an immense sense of pride and achievement, not only on a personal level for accomplishing such a significant physical feat, but more importantly the role we have played in working towards the betterment of young people in our state.”
Money raised from the ride helps Youth Focus to provide free professional counselling and suicide prevention education to young people in WA.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, with Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing 58 young people aged between 15 and 24 – more than one every week – took their own lives in WA in 2020.
This year, the ride will traverse the three traditional pelotons – coastal, inland and wheatbelt – with all riders travelling from Albany to Perth over 4.5 days. In addition, there will be a ‘heritage’ peloton of 60 riders which will retrace the original 2003 coastal route.
Along the way, cyclists will visit 20 schools and speak with more than 3500 students to share personal stories and communicate the importance of positive mental health.
A total of 51 women, the largest ever contingent of female riders to participate in the ride have registered, along with 41 riders who will participate for the first time. In addition, a 50-strong support crew will oversee the event.
Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Arthur Papakotsias said the Hawaiian Ride for Youth was a key event in Youth Focus’s fundraising calendar that contributed essential funds to youth mental health services in WA.
“We cannot overstate the importance of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth in supporting Youth Focus to ensure we are able to reach as many young people as we can,” Mr Papakotsias said.
Youth Focus is the only specialist non-government youth mental health service in WA and works to prevent suicide and improve the mental health of young people aged 12 to 25 through free counselling and community education services.
Last financial year Youth Focus supported 4599 young people with free professional counselling and another 7696 people through school and community education programs at 48 schools.
Each peloton will cover 700km to Perth, stopping at regional towns including Albany, Walpole, Pemberton, Busselton, Bridgetown, Collie, Gnowangerup, Katanning, Narrogin, Bunbury and Mandurah.
Each cyclist must commit to raise at least $5000 to participate in the ride. To donate or for more information visit www.rideforyouth.com.au.
Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443