2019 grand tour
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Former AFL stars Ryan O’Keefe, Scott Cummings and Wayne Schwass are pulling on the lycra and tackling nearly 2,000 kilometres in a bid to stamp out suicide.
They’ll be joined on the bike by another 30 riders when the Puka Up Grand Tour kicks off at Marvel Stadium this Wednesday and makes its way through some of Victoria’s most challenging terrain across ten days.
The purpose of the Tour is to eliminate suicide.
Alarmingly, 3,128 Australian’s took their life in 2017, the equal highest recorded rate in the past decade. That’s an average of eight Australians every day.
As the Tour weaves its way through some of the state’s most picturesque towns, the riders will ignite much-needed conversations among local communities around the issue of suicide and the devastation it causes families across the country.
“You’ll often see riders looking out for each other in a peloton, checking in on someone who is struggling. We want to translate that skill into everyday life where people have the confidence to approach anyone and ask if they are ok,” Puka Up CEO Schwass said.
Schwass will lead a large-scale conversation at a free community forum in Wangaratta, hosted in partnership with Wangaratta Council, on March 8.
“The forum is an opportunity to bring the local community together and have some genuine and authentic conversations about mental health and suicide prevention in a safe environment.
”Unfortunately the stats show that the rate of suicide is higher in regional Australia which makes it so important that we empower these communities to develop the tools and strategies to maintain their emotional wellbeing.”
Puka Up will host a further two forums at Reece Plumbing offices in Bendigo and Ballarat.
The Tour will depart Marvel Stadium at 8am Wednesday. Media are invited to attend with vision, photography and interviews available.
Media interviews will also be available across the ten day Tour.