Canberra gets behind 'mountainous' fundraising effort
6 mountains, 5 countries, 4 continents, 3 months, 2 people, 1 goal: 0 suicides
A brother and sister pair from regional NSW are this week climbing Mt Kosciusko – their sixth and final mountain in three months – as the Canberra community prepares to help them raise $250,000 for Lifeline’s 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Lifeline Australia Chairman John Brogden said an upcoming fundraising dinner, supported by Paralympian Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley, shows the powerful and far-reaching influence of Will and Maddie’s journey.
“It has been touching to follow the progress of Will and Maddie’s challenge, 6NIL,” Mr Brogden said. “The two said they wanted to do something ‘huge’ for suicide prevention following the death of their father Tony in 2009, and they have certainly achieved this.”
“Their story has now inspired a Canberra mother bereaved by suicide to take action and help breakdown the stigma around this issue, demonstrating the importance of a whole-of-community approach to suicide prevention.”
Curtin’s Nerida Volker, whose then husband Peter took his own life in 2008, is staging a fundraising dinner at Erindale Vikings on 21 November in support of 6NIL. She believes Will and Maddie have set a wonderful example for her own children.
“For families bereaved by suicide the grief is complicated by the associated stigma,” Ms Volker said.
“For children, it can be difficult to understand the reaction of the adults around them. Their lived experience of suicide is not often heard and that is why Will and Maddie’s efforts are so important.”
Ms Volker said Paralympian Kurt Fearnley, the cousin of her late husband, was pleased to honour Peter by supporting the fundraiser. Together, they are calling upon the Canberra community to get behind the event, donate to Lifeline and help the national charity take steps towards its vision of an Australia free of suicide.
Will and Maddie Gay, who come from the regional NSW town of Boorowa, have already climbed five mountains – Mt Kinabalu (Malaysia), Machu Picchu (Peru), Mt Meru (Tanzania), Mt Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mt Cook (New Zealand) since 10 September. They have currently raised about $130,000.
Tickets to ‘An evening with Kurt Fearnley and 6NIL’ can be purchased from the Eventbrite website. The event is sponsored by the Erindale Vikings, with all ticket sales going to 6NIL’s campaign for Lifeline.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.