94 legends walked with us and raised $20,855.90
September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day; it was also our very first ‘Step up & Stamp out suicide campaign. I first however want to focus on World Suicide Prevention Day and crunch some numbers that represent the global number of suicides that occur each year. It’s estimated by the World Health Organisation that in 2019 approximately 800,000 people lost their life to suicide. Let’s put that number into perspective…that’s the equivalent to 1/5 of the entire population of Sydney lost to suicide. Or it’s also the equivalent of the entire Newcastle, Central Coast and Wollongong population all losing their life to suicide. One more example just to highlight this tragic global figure…That global number is more people than those that live in each of these countries, Fiji, Solomon Islands, The Maldives and Montenegro. It’s kind of scary, it’s quite overwhelming…I try not to think about it too much to the point where it consumes me, it’s not good for my mental health.
So back to September 10th, we launched our Step up & Stamp out suicide campaign! I started 25twoZERO to highlight the number of suicides that occur in Australia each year (3318 in 2019) and of that number, 2502 were males (75%) or 3 out of 4. For those who don’t understand where the inspiration for 25twoZERO came from, it came from that 2502 number of men who lost their battle to suicide in 2019. The 25 represents the 2500 and the ‘to ZERO’ is the goal. Zero must be the goal, it always has been, it always will be. That will never change, not while I’m alive anyway.
I have gotten sidetracked again… back to it, the campaign we launched!! Okay, so the day started early, really early! The purpose of the SUSO campaign (Step up & Stamp out suicide campaign) was to get as many Australian’s around the country walking for the 2500 men we lost in 2019. There were no step goals, hours walked goal, or fancy challenges, we just asked people to sign up, create a profile, share it with friends, family, co-workers, and walk! And that they did. We had 94 legends across multiple states step up and help us stamp out suicide. Some people walked for a few hours before and after work and some crazy folks walked for 12 plus hours (I was one of them). So, grab a tea or coffee, a biscuit, and see how the day unfolded through my own eyes…
Remember how I mentioned it was an early start? Well, they say the early bird catches the worm, I say the early bird catches the best sunrises. This is how my day started out down at North Bondi at 5:30am.
Let me talk you through the method to my madness on walking from sunrise to sunset on September 10th. It wasn’t about the challenge of walking 12 hours… don’t get me wrong, it was a challenge. However, it was about so much more than that. See, to me, the sun represents life. Like… I don’t want to get too deep and philosophical here but without the sun we all know we wouldn’t be breathing anymore. 25twoZERO is about preserving life, we want to save lives. So, if sun = life and 25twZERO = preserving life what does the sunset have to do with anything? As mentioned above my goal was to walk from sunrise to sunset. To me, the sunset represents so much more than life. It represents an opportunity; it represents another day and another chance to do it all over again. I see the sunset as hope, hope to those who need it and who are struggling with crippling anxiety and depression. Hope that tomorrow could be just that little bit better and ultimately the hope to want to live another day. For some we take this for granted, we wake up every day, feeling rather good, many don’t though… their reality is much different, much darker. My sunrise to sunset mission was for those who need hope right now and a reminder that the sun will always rise the next day. And if it doesn’t rise, it doesn’t matter, because we will all be screwed if that’s the case!
I had multiple people walk with me throughout the day… it was a long day, but at the same time it flew by, to be honest. I had so many amazing conversations with so many amazing people throughout my 12 hours of walking.
Let me introduce you to just a couple of the people who really inspired me on the day and showed me the world IS and CAN be an amazing place with more humans like these.
Joe Callaghan – I met this lad about a year ago, we both signed up for a charity fight night with a company called Corporate Fighter. We hadn’t been in contact recently, but Joe reached out asking questions when he found out about the campaign. Joe is the kind of guy who is ‘all in or nothing’. On September 10th he was all in! The man rose at 4am and just walked for 12 hours straight. I remember calling him at 3.30pm to check in and make sure he was getting on okay. He said he was exhausted and felt a little lightheaded. I asked him had he stopped to eat yet, he said “no lad, I haven’t stopped walking since 5am”. This guy quite literally has a heart full of gold. He was also one of our biggest fundraisers smashing well over $1000.
Dougie and his Dingos (Dougie Jones) – This dude came out of nowhere. He reached out to me on social media asking some questions about the charity a few days before the campaign. Next minute he has raised close to $2k and he’s cutting laps of Bondi in a 25twoZERO shirt asking people for donations. I don’t know Dougie’s story, why he felt so compelled to sign up and walk on September 10th but what I do know is the world needs more Dingos like Dougie. PS, his real name isn’t Dougie but it rolls off the tongue nicely so let’s go with it. Thanks brother!
Eryn Button – Talk about vulnerability, we were fortunate enough to share a very inspiring and courageous video from Eryn in the days leading up to the SUSO campaign. Eryn shared her own experiences with mental health battles and the life she so sadly lost to suicide. We were so proud of Eryn for not only her vulnerability but also for stepping up and walking over 20,000 steps. She had told me previously she isn’t a massive walker so to pump out 20k in 1 day is a tremendous effort. Thank you Eryn!
While I am at it let me also share with you some of my favourite moments from throughout the day… I saw this at about 3pm on my walk, it was relevant and gave me the push to finish the day strong.
Walking the last hour of the day with Diana D. who is one of our biggest supporters. She has supported 25twoZERO from day one, modeling our merchandise and overall just being a fantastic ambassador/supporter of men’s mental health and suicide prevention.
This photo makes me emotional.
I do not know this boy, I don’t know his name or how old he is. This photo was taken by a team member at The Depot Café in Bondi. The Depot was taking donations and selling our merchandise on the day. Bunch of awesome legends if you ask me. Back to the unnamed boy. He doesn’t know it, he probably never will but he is the exact reason why I started this movement. Look at his smile, it’s infectious. I don’t ever want him to stop smiling. He doesn’t know what the hat represents or what ‘25twoZERO’ means, and that’s the point. I don’t want him to, I never want him to experience the disaster that is suicide. Keep smiling and throwing shaka’s my dude.
Speaking of the Depot Café in Bondi… I already mentioned they’re a bunch of good humans, didn’t I? They took donations and even sold our merchandise on the day and days after. They didn’t haven’t too, but they wanted to. Thanks to The Depot we got our brand and our message out in the Bondi community, sold some merch, and raised close to $2k through the café. To the Depot team, Thank you!
I also want to give a shout-out to one of my best mates. His name is James, but he prefers ‘Gary’ or ‘Gaz’. It was his birthday on September 10th. He chose to spend most of the day walking with me, supporting my message, my why, and my purpose to get Suicide to Zero. Gaz, I love you mate.
The day ended, I was exhausted, but at the same time full of energy. See this is what inspiration does to a human. It drives you. I should have been completely exhausted after the day I had, physically this was true. However mentally I was full of life. I was so inspired throughout the day. So many people gave me drive and urged me to keep going. Good people always give you good energy. Don’t forget that…
Together we raised a massive $20,855.90. Just WOW!
We are 25twoZERO. We believe that every life should live a full life. We are out here trying to shatter the stigma and get men to be more candid and vulnerable in the way they talk about their mental health. I believe that every suicide can be prevented. I truly believe that, with every bone in my body. There’s only one way we can end suicide though, and that’s together. Everyone has a role to play, we all need to chip in, and we all need to show up!
Let’s end suicide together
Founder – 25twoZERO