Veteran dementia charity fundraisers Ken Eaton and his dog Chloe joined the recent 10th anniversary Black Dog Ride around Australia that raised more than $60,000 for depression and mental illness.
BDR manager Richard Brown says 100% of funds raised will be given to community based groups and not-for-profit service providers via their new Community Grants program.
He says there will be about $150,000 in funds available and he invited groups to apply for grants of $1000 to $5000.
Ken and Chloe
Meanwhile, Ken says he excited to be able to share his experiences with other mental illness sufferers and survivors and help the Black Dog Ride.
Ken Eaton, of Joondalup in Western Australia, and Chloe have ridden about 200,000km on their BMW R 1200 GS raising money for dementia research through their Ride With Chloe To Fight The Black Dog.
“My motorbike travels started after losing my wife, and Chloe’s mum, to younger onset dementia 12 years ago after a downward spiral that lasted six years,” Ken says.
“After my wife Sue passed away, my daughters gave me an option of either buying a motorbike, a lifelong passion of mine, or getting a girlfriend. I bought a motorbike.
“I would miss Sue’s little companion dog, Chloe, each time I would ride so quickly developed a little travel pod for her and we have travelled the roads together ever since.
“Motorbike riding is a wonderful place to reflect, and along with involvement with the fantastic group of the Ulysses Club, I have happily survived a dark period of my life.
Ken and Chloe also host a travel blog and have published a book, Who Are You – reflections of a dementia survivor.
Black Dog Ride
Richard says this year’s BDR around Australia was a celebration of 10 years since Steve Andrews did his solo lap of the nation to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
“Ride groups engaged in conversation about mental health through pre-organised community connection events, and impromptu gatherings,” he says.
“One example of a pre-organised community connection event was our Black Dog Ride stall at a market in Broome on 24 August, which gave our Around Australia Riders the opportunity to meet locals and talk about mental health.
“Typically, when people see our banners and our mascot, Winston, many people stop to ask what we’re all about.
“It’s hard to put a figure on how many community members we talked to about mental health, but between all our ride groups this year we stopped in over 250 towns across the country.
“With a mixture of large, pre-planned, community events and the impromptu discussions, it’s likely that we have reached many thousands of people through our long distance rides this year.”
Win a Bobber
As part of the BDR mission to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, and raise funds, BDR is this year raffling an Indian Scout Bobber valued at $19,950 ride away.
- If you are experiencing feelings of depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 131114.