Murdoch cyclists inspired on Ride for Youth

April 9, 2015

Team Murdoch University - School of Psychology and Exercise Science, from left to right: Paul Zuvela, Mark Sayers, Brad Wall and Jeremiah Peiffer

Team Murdoch University – School of Psychology and Exercise Science, from left to right: Paul Zuvela, Mark Sayers, Brad Wall and Jeremiah Peiffer

A team from Murdoch University has successfully cycled an incredible 700km from Albany to Perth, visiting high schools along the way to promote and raise funds for mental health organisation Youth Focus.

Dr Jeremiah Peiffer and Dr Brad Wall from the School of Psychology and Exercise Science rode alongside Murdoch Chancellor David Flanagan and 142 others during the grueling Hawaiian Ride for Youth, collectively raising more than $2.3m for the not-for-profit organisation.

Not only did they cycle over 100 kms almost every day, but the trio were among groups of riders who stopped at high schools to engage with students on the issues of youth suicide, depression and self-harm and the services that Youth Focus provides.

"The ride was just fantastic,” said Mr Flanagan. “It was really terrific to visit schools where Youth Focus was making a difference while also exploring some beautiful parts of the south west of WA.

"The ride set a new all time record for funds raised at $2.3m from 145 riders, that’s huge and a very big part of the Youth Focus annual budget.

"That will make a huge contribution to the counselling, support and outreach that Youth Focus provides young people in WA.  We can all be very proud of that."

Mr Flanagan added that Dr Peiffer, captain of the Murdoch team, was awarded the coveted Strongman jersey on one of the days in recognition of his riding capability and because of the support he gave to less capable riders.

“I spent a few days helping my fellow teammates who were finding the ride a bit difficult and this is what I got the jersey for. It was a privilege to be recognised,” said Dr Peiffer.

“While we were visiting the schools we talked to the pupils about ensuring they communicated with someone they trusted if they were feeling low and so people on the road were practising what they preached and asking for help.”

Dr Wall added that it was satisfying to see where the money they were raising would go. “For me, that was a key motivating factor to return to this ride next year,” he said.

“The services Youth Focus provide are desperately needed in the regional communities. Without this ride many of these services would not be available as the ride is where the majority of their funds come from.”

Mr Flanagan said that there was something in the ride for cyclists at all levels.

“After 13 years of running the event, the Ride Committee have got the balance right,” he said. “There are always 10-15 riders taking the wrapping off their first bike as training for the event starts. I was one of them in 2012 and now I can't imagine ever stopping."

Youth Focus provides support to young West Australians and their families by offering a range of free mental health services dealing with issues such as suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm.

This is the third time Mr Flanagan has taken part in the ride whilst Dr Peiffer returned for a second time. This was the first Hawaiian Ride for Youth for Dr Wall.

All three followed gruelling training schedules to ensure they were ready for the ride which ended in King’s Park on Saturday, March 28.

The official Murdoch team also consisted of café owner and chef Mark Sayers and environmental consultant Paul Zuvela.

You can still donate to Team Murdoch University – School of Psychology and Exercise Science by clicking here. All funds raised go directly to Youth Focus.

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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