A FARMER, riding for a friend who lost his life to mental health issues last Christmas Eve, successfully raised $10,000 for farmers and veterans suffering from mental health issues in May.
Matthew Aldridge cycled just over 260 kilometres in five days, including pedalling up 2228 metres of Mount Kosciusko, during the Coo-Wee Ride, an annual charity ride to raise awareness and funds for farmers and veterans who are suffering from mental health diseases such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Riding through the snow of Mount Kosciusko, the ride also made its way through Albury-Wodonga and finished at the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk in Seymour on Saturday, May 12.
“The ride was amazing,” Matthew said. “Riding through Mount Kosciusko National Park was really beautiful and reminded me what a lucky country we really live in.
“When Dylan passed away I wanted to turn a positive into a negative and highlight mental health issues and tell everyone that it’s OK to speak to someone when you’re not feeling quite right upstairs.
“Throughout the journey I was just amazed by people’s support after telling them why I was riding. They were all very keen to learn more about the issue and support it,” Matthew added.
Matt was successful in raising $10,000 for the Hume Veterans Information Centre and also an outback farmer who is battling drought.
“Suicide rates amongst farmers are really high – one farmer dies by suicide every four days. Our veterans are also suffering tremendously and need much more support,” Matthew said.
Last year, Mr Aldridge also travelled more than 1800 km in the annual Coo-Wee Ride, which raised $15,000 for The Returned & Services League. He hopes next year’s ride will be even bigger.
“Cooee is a call for help in the Aussie bush and we are all in this together and we really need to help each other out whenever we can,” Matthew added.
For more information, or to donate, please visit: www.cooweeride.org.au