A former bodyboarding champion from Sydney is cycling from Ireland to Australia to raise awareness about mental health.
Kate Maloney began her six month long trip in Strandhill, Sligo last week. She made a short stop in Galway city to promote one of her chosen charities, GROW Community Mental Health.
The 27 year-old, who has personal experience of dealing with mental health issues, believes there is a direct link between exercise and good mental health. She plans to demonstrate this by her sponsored cycle through 20 countries. She is particularly interested in raising awareness about mental health issues facing young people today.
She hopes to raise €25,000 for the mental health charity, GROW Community Mental Health. It was founded in Sydney in 1957 and celebrated 40 years in Ireland last year. It has more than 100 weekly support groups throughout Ireland, including Galway.
Galway city is currently at the heart of developing mental health resources for young people. GROW’s first young adult support group was set up here two years ago. JIGSAW mental health clinic and Spunout.ie are also based in Galway.
Ms Maloney describes her trip as a “journey of adventure, excitement and some may say, complete madness!.”
A graphic designer, she left her “perfect” job in Australia in 2007 to travel the world. “I had worked designing since I finished school and knew I wanted to travel one day, just wasn’t sure when. That day soon came, and I took it, never looking back.
“A year on, I decided that my days of sitting for hours at airports and getting on and off trains and buses, etc, were numbered. I longed for some physical activity and adventure! Bicycle touring? Why not? Sure, I had never really been interested in cycling before, and never really used it as a form of transport, (and to be honest, the idea of cycling on the road with cars scares the pants off me ) but that’s all part of the fun!
“With my travelling and sporting desires far from over I decided there was no other way to get back to Australia but to throw myself in the deepend and embark on my next challenge – an epic cycling adventure home.”
As well as raising vital funds for charity, she wants to use her experience to demonstrate the benefits of physical activity and promote environmentally responsible travel choices.
Her journey will involve taking the “long, scenic, roundabout” route home via Russia, according to her website. She will travel by bicycle, train and finally by boat to Australia.
“There will be a lot of pedalling and a few ferries and trains but no planes.”
For further information on Ms Maloney’s cycle log onto www.katescycle.com