The Black Dog Ride Team
Steve - Founder and National Coordinator
I am an explorer from way back. When I was eighteen I rode across Australia on a motorbike.
I had long held a dream to ride around Australia and here was a purpose, a compelling, driving reason for me to fulfill that dream and at the same time raise much needed awareness about the insidious nature of depression.
Whilst I have not suffered personally from depression it has had a major impact on my life. Four weeks after the birth of my 4th child my mother tragically took her own life. I did not understand at the time why, but have subsequently discovered that she had for many years battled depression. That was over 15 years ago but I still carry the regret that I didn't know of her struggle with this silent killer and often wonder if things could have turned out differently had she and her family and friends been more aware of this illness.
I believe that awareness of this illness, and even the fact that it is an illness, is paramount to save more lives around Australia.
On a personal note, I am a father of five which keeps me very busy and I am now enjoying being a grandfather for the first time.
Fiona - Administration Manager
I'm the proud daughter of a returned serviceman and career soldier, so I have long been an advocate for awareness and support of the intergenerational mental health needs of defence families. Having also survived domestic violence and the associated trauma, I'm a staunch supporter of raising and maintaining a national conversation around mental health.
Steve put out a call for assistance in 2011, and I eagerly put my hand up to help. I knew Black Dog Ride to be an inspirational movement of hope making a real difference in people's lives and I was proud to be able to join the journey. I've been assisting Steve with organisational and ride administration, website management, and social media ever since.
I am also a student and Mum with a house full of sons and a little Staffy who all keep me smiling.
Gavin - Lions Club Liaison
I am a retired (young) farmer, farming industry leader, Certified Financial Planner and now a fellow Lion myself. Having been a farmer for 13 years in the Western Australian Central Wheatbelt, I am well aware of the emotional roller coaster farmers endure, especially in times of drought. I have seen the impact of depression and mood disorders upon friends and colleagues, and believe that talking about mental illness will lead to greater understanding and support.
Steve has created a very worthy organisation and I jumped at the chance to help as the Lions Club Liaison. I think this role is a way of keeping Lions Clubs connected to Black Dog Ride and help make our partnership even stronger.
Graeme - Bike Club and Dealership Liaison
I have followed Steve's progress from his initial ride around Australia and was inspired by this man riding a motorbike and promoting a subject hardly mentioned. My understanding of this illness comes from first hand experience many years ago, when depressive illnesses couldn't be discussed. Since Steve's initial ride I have seen this topic come out in the open.
Many people stood by me and helped me at a critical time and I will use this role at Black Dog Ride as a learning experience, knowing that I can repay the assistance I had by supporting others now.
On a personal note I'm married with 4 daughters, plus a Golden Retriever who didn't last 5 minutes as an "Outside Dog".
Debbie - Merchandise Officer
I'm an avid supporter of Black Dog Ride and have been involved in all the one day Black Dog Rides since 2010. I am a proud 41 year old who successfully lives with depression. I'm thrilled being able to volunteer my time to such a fantastic organisation as this is something very close to my heart.
Many years ago I was involved in marketing and advertising for small business. Currently, I am studying to be a teacher and I hope to specialise in health education, which includes teaching young people about wellbeing and resilience.
I am also learning to ride a motorbike so you may soon see me on a Black Dog Ride as a rider instead of a pillion!
These invaluable volunteers handle local ride coordination which enables Black Dog Ride to work towards our mission by amplifying our reach across the nation. Steve Andrews maintains responsiblility for overall management of all rides in Australia and NZ.
Black Dog Ride to the Red Centre
Steve Andrews (WA), Andrew Prescott (NT), Michael Young (QLD), Phil and Sue Waesch (NSW), Graeme "Toad" Noad (ACT), Ric Raftis (VIC), Betty Parssey (TAS), Paul Whittenbury, Garry Browning and team (SA).
Black Dog Ride - National 1 Day Ride
Mick Corfield (Adelaide), Raymond Jones (Alice Springs), David McAuliffe (Bacchus Marsh), Ric Raftis (Bendigo), Kylie Sage (Brisbane), Jack Hamilton (Canberra), Daz and Jules (Central Coast), Barney Boswell (Coober Pedy), John Lewin (Dardanup), Andrew Prescott (Darwin), Beth Waters and Kathy Nikolaiyjenko (Kalgoorlie), Graeme Noad (Kangaroo Island), Charles Linsley (Mackay), Heather Muskee (Penshurst), Nathan Gyaneshwar (Sydney), Ben Price (Townsville), Betty Parssey (TAS)
Winston - Moral Support & Mascot
Winston was Steve's companion on the inaugural Black Dog Ride around Australia in 2009 and has been on every single Black Dog Ride! He also travels to agricultural shows, public forums and speaking engagements.
Winston has proven to be a brilliant tool for engaging the community of all ages about mental health awareness. You will see Winston on the bikes of Black Dog Riders right across the country.
Steve Andrews named the Black Dog Ride mascot after Sir Winston Churchill, who famously diarised about being hounded by the "black dog of depression".
"Black Dog" is a powerfully expressive metaphor that appears to require no explanation.The combination of 'blackness' with the negative connotations of 'dog, noun and verb, seems an eminently apt description of depression: an ever present companion, lurking in shadows just out of sight, growling, vaguely menacing, always on the alert; sinister and unpredictable, capable of overwhelming you at any moment. - Paul Foley