GREAT CAUSE: Mark Brookes (left) and John Whitten prepare for this weekend's ride to support suicide awareness.
GREAT CAUSE: Mark Brookes (left) and John Whitten prepare for this weekend's ride to support suicide awareness. Christine McKee

RIDE FOR LIFE: Gladstone, get on your bike and out of your head

LAST September, Mark Brookes and a handful of Gladstone locals, all affected by suicide, decided to turn their energy into making a change.

Mark is now Gladstone's representative for Ride for Life, a organisation committed to suicide awareness and intervention.

He says this weekend's first local event is a chance for people to just get out there, enjoy each other's company for a cause and help free the mind with a ride.

"It doesn't matter what you ride, it's why we're riding," Mark said.

"Suicide doesn't discriminate and riding can help to alleviate the things getting on top of people."

Between 150 and 200 road bikes are expected to take part in the Ride for Life which gets under way after a morning Show and Shine.

"Some people are riding for the fallen brothers and sisters, others ride for the cause and for some it's just to connect," Mark said.

"It's not just for Harley riders, it's for anyone with a road bike who wants to join us."

Before the ride, a Show and Shine and family fun day is being held for the whole community with rides and activities for the kids.

Community organisations Survivors of Suicide and Standby Support will also be on hand to offer support, information or just someone to talk to.

Then it's "stands up"' at 12.30 and the spectacle of road bikes will head up the Bruce Highway to Raglan Tavern.

"The community up there has also been very affected," Mark said.

"They're feeling it too."

Then it's back to Calliope for a steak burger and a band before wrapping it all up by 7pm.

Money raised on the day goes to supporting Project We Care, founded and led by Gladstone businessman, John Whitten.

"It's to help John continue what he's doing," Mark said.

"Project We Care can help save lives, so that's what we're focusing on - learning how to save lives.

"If people weren't aware that support is there, then we're creating that awareness through this event."

Ride for Life is the first in a series of planned events to put the spotlight on suicide prevention.



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