Former Leeton resident to take part in gruelling bike ride to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute

FORMER Leeton resident Andrew Hammond knows a thing or two about pain – both physically and mentally. 

Mr Hammond will be jumping aboard his bicycle on Saturday where he will ride from Perth to Broome to raise awareness about mental health and funds for the Black Dog Institute which researches, diagnoses and treats mood disorders and depression.

It’s not his first time taking part, having cycled from Perth to Sydney in 2013 and Adelaide to Darwin in 2015 for the same cause.

The organisation is a not-for-profit charity cycling organisation that encourages riders to share their own stories about mental health and raise funds for the institute. Mr Hammond is the son of residents Bruce and Liz, who still live in Leeton shire.

“I’ve lost three close friends over the past 15 years, which triggered depression in me and which I’m trying to treat through exercise and awareness about mental health to people around me,” Mr Hammond said. 

The gruelling ride is no easy feat and Yanco Agricultural High School students are doing their bit to help give Mr Hammond some extra motivation. 

The school will hold their annual ram sale on Thursday, with some of the money raised from the “charity ram” purchase going directly towards the cause. 

“The fundraising is important, but more importantly is the need to start a conversation with your loved ones, friends and family,” Mr Hammond said.

“Bring the ‘Black Dog’ into the open. Even better have a conversation with your loved ones while exercising - combining your mental and physical well-being to work on them together is a winning combination.”