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Man on a mission

Monday, 20th April, 2009

Newcastle man Rod Cheney lost a brother and an uncle to depression so it's understandable that he would want to help those organisations that offer support to sufferers.

Just how he chose to help sets him apart.

On the weekend Rod started a 1,400 km walk to raise awareness of the problem and to raise money for the Black Dog Institute, which provided considerable help to his brother. Rod's Country to Coast Walk for Depression Awareness will take him from the South Australian border to his hometown of Newcastle. He left Cockburn on Saturday morning and after spending the night in Broken Hill, continued his trek yesterday. He expects to complete his journey in 25 to 30 days, walking 50-60kms per day. Rod's father Clive will be providing support, following him every day towing their home for the month - a caravan. Although Rod has never experienced depression himself, family members continue to live with depression and deal with the impact this has on their lives. "I cannot return my brother and although I have a better understanding now of what my brother and uncle were going through, I will never completely understand how a person can bring themselves to end their life. "One thing I can do is meet, talk and listen to people about their experiences, pain, frustrations, sorrow and also hear the stories of those who have overcome depression. "I want an opportunity to express my empathy and show people who care for someone or suffer from depression themselves that they are not alone. "I also want to raise community awareness and funds for organisations like Black Dog so that they can continue to move forward with research and continue to provide much needed services. "If I can show people who have lost someone to depression or are experiencing it themselves that the community cares then maybe it will provide some hope and inspiration. "This will help me with the healing process and hopefully inspire my family and others to achieve great things in life despite how hard things can be at times." Rod is depending upon community support in raising donations for this cause. A gala dinner/ball will be organised for the event when Rod reaches his destination and items donated along the way will be auctioned. Those who would like to join Rod along the way are more than welcome. Readers can follow Rod's exploits on the web at: www.countrytocoastwalk.tk or www.c2cwalk.tk. Donations can be made directly via electronic banking to: BSB: 082360, Account No: 547392802. Account Name: Black Dog Institute DGR Donations Fund. Bank: National Australia Bank, Randwick, NSW.

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