Locals are fundraising for mental health with an almost 70km walk.
Mark MacManus and Suzanne Lewis of Latrobe Valley Enterprises are raising money by walking from Toongabbie to Latrobe Valley Enterprises, Morwell, and back again.
The pair will begin walking at 3:30am on Friday November 12.
The event is in collaboration with the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and The Restoration Project Gippsland.
The fundraiser aims to raise awareness about mental health, start important conversations surround the issue, and help local organisations that support vulnerable members of the community.
Latrobe Valley Enterprises is an organisation that provides meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The money raised will be split between three local charities and support services, Morwell Neighbourhood House, Quantum Support Services, and Lifeline Gippsland.
Each organisation supports vulnerable members of the community, providing services to those experiencing things such as ill-mental health and food or housing insecurity.
Mr MacManus said the cause is very important to him, having battled with his own mental health for some time and “come out the other side”, he wants to raise awareness around the issue so others may do the same.
“I wanted to show people that you can do it, to give people hope and to get people to start being open and willing to have the conversation.”
Mr MacManus came up with the idea last year, and completed the first walk shortly after.
He and Ms Lewis decided to do the same in 2021, however this year the fundraising aspect has been a focus, with a Go Fund Me page being set up and promoted on social media.
“This year we thought we would do it again, and go a bit further this time… we thought it would be a good opportunity to not only raise awareness but funds for some good organisations.”
“We’re seeing our vulnerable community facing more and more battles, obviously with COVID there’s been job losses
“I think there big issues in our local area, and if we can support the local organisations who support everybody else, I think that that will go a long way to helping people,” he said.
Mr MacManus said he and Mr Lewis will be joined by a number of people showing their support at various intervals along the walk.
He encourages people to get involved and raise awareness for mental health.
“One day of walking and a bit of pain, physical pain, is nothing compared to the pain that people feel on a regular basis when they’re really struggling with their mental health.”
The fundraiser will be open for approximately another week following the walk on Friday November 12.
To find out more or make a donation, visit https://gofund.me/13ea19b8