ABOUT US

A NON-FOR-PROFIT ORGANISATION LEAD BY A STRONG TEAM OF VOLUNTEERS COMMITTED TO HELPING THE MENTAL WELLBEING OF VICTORIANS DURING 2020

ONE POSITIVE FROM 2020

We are a small group of experienced professionals from industries that have been significantly affected by COVID-19. For those of us from the event space, our world changed on that fateful day in March when the Grand Prix was abruptly cancelled. We had known for a couple of weeks that the situation was beginning to deteriorate, but the speed at which an entire industry was decimated in a single afternoon rocked us to our core.

Within days, others in our community were being affected as well. In only a matter of weeks, Victoria was in Stage 3 restrictions, businesses closed, children learning from home.

The mental wellbeing of our colleagues, friends, family members, and the general community, has remained in the forefront of our mind since March. This lead us to make the decision to use our collective professional knowledge, experience and contact lists to develop a program to help. We love the ‘R U Okay’ campaign and wanted to produce something to build on this. Something that mates could use to help each other when they know they are struggling.

We never could have predicted in April, when discussions first became serious, how the remainder of 2020 would play out. Writing these words from Stage 4 lockdown, the need for mental health support, for human connection and for hope within the Victorian community has never been so pressing.

We would like to take this opportunity to introduce Footstep Events Ltd, a non-for-profit, volunteer led organisation dedicated to developing simple, yet effective ways for mates to help mates. Please consider registering as a team captain to support your friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours and team mates.

Together we can make a difference.

AN INVITATION

I spent 15 years in the Australian Defence Force and like most, I knew I had found my place, my purpose. I prided myself on wearing the uniform, serving our nation and adhering to all of its values. Courage, initiative, teamwork and integrity. 

In 2014, after my medical discharge, I appreciated more than ever the impact of these values. I realised that they were not just principles I followed – they were a part of me, my identity. But, I was no longer surrounded by those wearing the same uniform (which in itself provided connection). I felt more alone than I have ever felt, despite being comforted by friends and family.

It took more courage than I had ever drawn on to admit and acknowledge that I was struggling with my mental health.Then, whilst battling my inner demons,  I was invited to participate in the inaugural INVICTUS Games in London (where my mate Harry presented me with two gold medals). The support, encouragement, connection and camaraderie felt so familiar. That feeling of being connected and belonging. It saved me.

My desire to serve remains strong. I wanted to do more and began thinking of ways to extend my reach to help others struggling with their everyday. My experience at the games still resonated with me and the parts of this event that helped me.

The goal of The Great Aussie Hike is to help strengthen the mental well-being of those who participate, whilst they fulfil their need to help others – their teammates, the East Gippsland community, an organisation they choose to fundraise for. Completing the training regime and event in teams will focus on exercise, goal setting and human connection – three elements that research shows are extremely beneficial for those suffering depression and anxiety.

Our program provides participants with goals, connections and hope. Hope being the main deterrent to suicide. Elements such as mateship, helping others, giving back, endurance, being part of a team – The Great Aussie Hike purposely ticks all these boxes.

I know only too well that the hardest part is getting started. I can’t encourage you enough to join our community. We promise to be by your side every step of the way. I invite you to start your journey today.

Sarah

Co-Founder, The Great Aussie Hike