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Two step out to support Beyond Blue
Helen Dugdale
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Two step out to support Beyond Blue

Narrabri Courier September 8 2020

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

It’s a famous Chinese proverb, of course, and may have been in the minds of two walkers when they set off at dawn from Pirate Park, Narrabri West on Thursday to walk to Yarrie Lake.

The distance is about 17 kilometres, or something more than 17,000 steps, but their journey was for a good cause and they weren’t counting.

The walkers set out to raise awareness of an issue which is nowadays challenging many in the community – anxiety, stress, and depression.

“We were walking for Beyond Blue,” said the initiator of the exercise, Helen Dugdale.

Beyond Blue is a lead agency helping people deal with the strains of modern life, particularly now in the context of the drought, the COVID pandemic, and economic uncertainty.

Beyond Blue estimates, three million Australians are living with anxiety or depression.

People in regional areas, particularly young people, are identified by Beyond Blue as most at risk of suicide.

But caring help is at hand.

Beyond Blue’s role is specifically to give support, guidance, and advice to assist people who need a helping hand.

The 27 kilometre Narrabri West to Yarrie Lake trek is a ‘walk in the park’ albeit still a rigorous one, for Helen Dugdale and Maria McDonnell, veterans of much longer and arduous walks for charity, and also for recreation.

Helen has climbed Mt Kiliminjaro, has been a regular participant in the annual City to Surf run in Sydney, has run in the London Marathon, half marathons, and walked the Camino in France last year which involved 25km a day for three weeks.

Her co-walker Maria McDonnell is also a veteran charity walker with City to Surf and marathons behind her.

“But we hadn’t done much training and were wondering how our legs were going to go,” admitted Helen.

It was a good walk on Thursday, she said.

Beyond Blue walkers and supporters at Yarrie Lake on Thursday, from left, Helen Southwell, walker Maria McDonnell, Rob Dugdale, walker Helen Dugdale and Norm Chapman.

“It was nice to see water lying around and grass, and see the water in Yarrie Lake.

“The walk took us six and a half hours, at just under 5km an hour.

“It was a good walk, although it got a bit hot later in the day.”

The walkers were raising awareness and promoting fundraising for mental health support body Beyond Blue.

Donations are welcome.

“People can donate directly to coastrek (see below) and the money goes to Beyond Blue,” said Mrs Dugdale.

Support for organisations like Beyond Blue, and awareness of their services, has never been more important as many in the community face significant challenges created by the drought and the Covid pandemic.

“Beyond Blue has a very good reputation for helping people with mental health problems,” said Mrs Dugdale.

Meanwhile, further fund raising opportunities lie ahead and people are invited to be involved.

A charity in Sydney stages the 28 km Seven Bridges of Sydney walk for cancer research, curtailed in 2020 because of COVID

However, this year it will be a ‘virtual walk’ and participants can do their 28km wherever they can.

“I thought, ‘why don’t we have the Seven Bridges of Narrabri walk?” Mrs Dugdale said.

“We will map out a route encompassing the seven bridges and do it in laps until we do our 28 km,” she suggested.

The Seven Bridges of Narrabri would be held on October 25.

You can support Maria’s fundraising here and Helen’s fundraising here.

Article can be found on the below link

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