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Record number of young riders at the heart of 21st Hawaiian Ride for Youth

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There’s much to celebrate as the Hawaiian Ride for Youth marks its 21st year with a record number of young riders saddling up to drive youth mental health support and awareness in 2023.

What began as a small charity event with 24 riders in 2003 has grown in to one of Australia’s most prominent charity cycling events, and the landmark fundraising activity for Youth Focus, who work to deliver life-changing mental health services to young Western Australians.

From March 21 to 25 2023, the 21st Hawaiian Ride for Youth will see 160 riders traverse three traditional pelotons – Coastal, Inland and Wheatbelt – cycling more than 700 kilometres from Albany to Perth over four-and-a-half days.

Significantly, the 2023 ride will see more young people than ever before take part with 25 young riders gearing up for the gruelling ride, most of whom are committing to the challenge for the very first time.

For James Trench, aged 24, the ride is in his DNA, thanks to his dad, Peter, being a founding rider in 2003 and head coach for all riders. James also personally connects with the cause, having experienced mental health issues as a teenager.

“It was a really hard time, but eventually I got more confidence to talk about it and to get through it,” James recalls.

Hawaiian Ride for Youth Chair Christina Matthews said the event has become a fundamental platform for highlighting and creating conversations around the mental health challenges faced by young people.

“At its core, the Ride is about improving the lives of young Western Australians and supporting young people by providing them with the services and tools they require to  navigate their mental health journey.

“Every rider shares a common passion, and that’s to ensure we are doing everything we can to help prevent young people dying by suicide. Seeing so many young people get on board for 2023 is incredibly significant when you think about what we are all here to do,” said Matthews.

During its 21-year history, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth has raised more than $30 million for youth mental health. This vital funding has enabled Youth Focus to deliver life-changing mental health services to thousands of vulnerable young people across Western Australia each year.

Tragically, suicide remains the leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 24 in Australia. Mental health support has never been more important and the demand for services is ever-increasing. Funds raised through the event are crucial to Youth Focus’ operations and ensure the organisation can support young people with mental health services at no cost to the young person, when they need it most.

En route, the riders will stop off at 15 high schools in an effort reduce mental health stigma and educate young people on the importance of mental health.

For most riders, the school visits are the highlight of the event, as it’s where they can “see” the difference they are making, as founding rider Peter Trench explains: “When we first started, the students would ask us things like, “How heavy is your bike? How fast do you ride? Why do you shave your legs?’

“Now we go into the schools and have really meaningful conversations about mental health. The young people ask important questions on behalf of a friend or for themselves, such as, ’Who should I talk to if I can’t tell mum or dad?’,” said Trench.

Arriving home to a sea of praise, family, and high-fives – Riders will peddle into UWA on Saturday 25th March for the official Welcome Home Ceremony and conclusion to the Ride where the all-important final fundraising tally is announced.

Each peloton will cover 700km to Perth, stopping at regional towns including Albany, Walpole, Pemberton, Busselton, Frankland River, Bridgetown, Collie, Gnowangerup, Katanning, Narrogin, and Mandurah.

To donate or for more information visit www.rideforyouth.com.au

For further information, interview and images please contact:

Hayley Sarre | Detail Marketing Communications | 0449 202 945 [email protected]

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