EIGHT Mount Gambier and district women will pull on their walking shoes today to raise money for mental health initiatives and awareness.
Making up two teams, these community-minded women will show resilience and grit as they trek 30km from Victor Harbor to Goolwa.
Joining 1200 participants and facing potential inclement weather, the Mount Gambier teams will walk along the rugged and breathtaking coastline as part of Wild Women on Top’s Coastrek event.
Trekkers will raise funds for beyondblue, which provides Australians with the knowledge to protect their own mental health.
Meeting at the Mount Gambier rail lands ahead of the event, team spokesperson Sarah Milne said the Mount Gambier teams were walking in Wesley Milne’s honour.
“Wesley was a genuine and kind-hearted friend to all who met him,” Ms Milne said.
“Wes sadly (suicided) two years ago, which was devastating as he was a much-loved son, brother, uncle and best mate whose warm sense of humour and cheeky laugh made it impossible not to enjoy his company.”
Ms Milne – Wesley’s sister-in-law – said she felt somewhat useless after his death.
“So I decided to do something to both honour my dearest brother- in-law and also raise money and awareness to ensure those struggling are afforded the support they need and less families and friends will experience a loss in this way,” she said.
Ms Milne put a call out on social media to see if anyone wanted to join her and quickly had seven fellow trekkers on board willing to take up the physical challenge, while also honouring a special friend.
“We know the day is going to be physically and emotionally challenging but every step we take on the day no matter how hard, we will be doing for Wes,” she said.
“We will be so proud to cross the finish line all together.”
The two Walking for Wes teams have collectively raised more than $12,000 for beyondblue, with hopes to reach even higher before donations close on September 30.
Both teams have held various events to raise the combined funds, which has put them both in the top 10 fundraising teams across the state.
“This has been incredibly unexpected as we were worried we would not reach the compulsory target of $2000 per team,” Ms Milne added.
Ms Milne and her fellow trekkers extended their thanks to everyone who has sponsored them.
“They have been so generous by holding hugely successful fundraising events in support of ‘walk for Wes’ ,we cannot thank them enough,” she said.
Visit www.coastrek.com.au/fundraisers/Walking-for-Wes to make a donation.