Home News It’s a hard road with the black dog at your heels

It’s a hard road with the black dog at your heels

Bannockburn businessman Brad McKenzie makes it known he has the black dog.

Bannockburn local raising funds to tackle mental health.

BANNOCKBURN local Brad McKenzie is helping to reduce the impact of depression by embarking on a solo walk from Mildura to Bannockburn beginning on September 20 2015 to raise awareness and funds for the Black Dog Institute.

Statistics are that one in five Australians are affected by mental illness every year, with one of the most common of these being depression.

It touches people of all ages and from all walks of life, and places an enormous burden on individuals, families, work places and the health system. Brad says the Black Dog Institute has a special significance for him.

Having suffered from depression since his late teens and living life feeling shame Mr. McKenzie, now 40 has come to terms with his illness.

With the support of his wife and three children and family and friends he now aims to encourage people, in particular males to talk openly and seek help when required. Brad aims to raise $10,000 to assist the Black Dog Institute and more importantly, awareness. Like most good ideas Brad said he fell into this one, rather than having it planned beforehand.

“We were in Mildura for Christmas and were walking to dinner and the six year old turned and said to me ‘how long would it take to walk home (Bannockburn)?’ and by the time we got to the pub, I’d decided to do it,” he said. The walk is scheduled for the school holidays so that his children and wife, who is a teacher, can accompany him.

“A friend, Craig, will tag along and jump in the car for a while and walk for a bit,” Brad added. “The walk will be around 520 kilometres and I aim to finish it in two weeks.“ There has already been some interest from the community with a few people wanting to do a bit of walking.

“Closer to the event we might put up for offer different blocks where people can donate a certain amount of money and they will get a tee shirt, hat and all the gear and they can tag along and the money will all go to the Black Dog Institute,” Brad said.

“I have spoken to a few people who have done similar things and its more mental than it is physical – it’s only walking – there is no real chance of damaging yourself by walking – it’s just walking through that pain, backing up day after day after day.

“With my depression there were times when I just wasn’t interested, that you just don’t want to play life, nothing I guess lights your fire. “I think it’s something that I will have to live with forever; you have times when it doesn’t really affect you at all and other times when it seems to hit for no reason.

“I decided to do the walk for mental health. A musician friend has worked with the Black Dog Institute on a couple of projects and she was always really complimentary of them and I looked into it a bit more, the work they do.” Brad said any spare time he has is spent trying to organise the walk, fundraising leading up to it, as well as getting a few walks in.

“People can donate now directly to the Black Dog Institute via my fundraising page, they can also donate to me to help fund the walk and then there are collection tins around Bannockburn,” he said.

Brad is planning to hold the first of his fundraisers on August 21st, a cruise on Corio Bay, which will include musicians and nibbles.

To support WALK THE BLACK DOG. Mildura-Bannockburn 2015 people can donate at http://personalchallenge. gofundraise.com.au/page/ BMcKenzie.indoutmoreabouttheBlackDogatwww. blackdoginstitute. org.au of follow

on Facebook www.facebook. com/BradsWalk