The mammoth undertaking is already underway with Arc’s cycling crusaders braving pre-dawn starts and weather extremes to prepare for the March 2018 event. Each rider will log more than 7,000kms in preparation before coming together for a further 700kms over 4.5 days as part of the official race.
The Hawaiian Ride for Youth is held annually with riders travelling from Albany or Geraldton to Perth to raise funds and awareness for Youth Focus. While cycling through towns in WA’s South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Mid West, riders visit schools to engage and inform students on issues of youth suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm, as well as the services that Youth Focus provides.
This year’s preparations hold special significance for Arc Infrastructure and its riders. Not only is it the Company’s fifth consecutive year as an official race sponsor, its 12-member riding group is the largest number of riders from any single organisation and the only team to be made up entirely of employees.
Clarise Forte, one of Arc Infrastructure’s riders said the challenge ahead of the team was significant but nothing compared to the battle that sufferers of depression experience every day.
“It’s tragic to think that more people die from suicide each year in Australia than on our roads and on average we lose more than one young Western Australian to suicide each week,” Ms Forte said.
“Its statistics like this that have touched each and every one of us and motivate all our riders to be part of a solution to tackle the problem of youth suicide and depression in our society.
“The encouragement and support from the whole organisation has been incredible. Not only do we have two teams this year, but we have people from across the whole business getting their own teams together to organise fundraisers and donate to our teams” Ms Forte said.
The riders are required to raise a minimum of $5,000 each and have committed to training four times a week with 4am starts during the week and on the weekends.
Arc Infrastructure’s employees will ride on the Wheatbelt leg from Albany to Perth and along the way will visit regional schools to discuss mental health and promote the services Youth Focus provides.
Arc Infrastructure CEO and team rider Paul Larsen said Arc Infrastructure and its employees were well aware of just how vital the services of Youth Focus were to regional communities, particularly where they would not otherwise be available.
“With many of our own employees living and working in regional Western Australia, we understand how important the provision of mental health services can be, especially for those who are most vulnerable,” Mr Larsen said.
“We hope to share the message that it is ok to talk if you are feeling down, and that there are services such as the school outreach program and tele-counselling available for young people in the Wheatbelt if they do want to talk,” Mr Larsen said.
The ride teams have organised a variety of fundraising activities including a quiz night, dress-up day and car-wash with many more initiatives planned for the coming months.
Donations can be made by visiting the Arc Infrastructure team pages here
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