MOTORCYCLISTS and anyone who’s interested in men’s health should head to Gunnedah tomorrow evening .
The Long Ride is leaving town, bound for Cairns on May 11 and raising money for and awareness of men’s health issues including prostate cancer,.
Ride organiser Chris Dunne said riders from all over Australia were taking part, including about 80 defence force personnel, with one-third of the particpants women.
Among the contingent is vice chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin.
Mr Dunne said he had retired from the military after 31-and-a-half years, “and I was physically and mentally buggered; and I didn’t realise how crook I was”.
Like many men going through trauma, he decided to drink to ease the pain – until his children chipped him about it by saying: “What are you doing?”
So, in 2007, he organised the first Long Ride.
“I didn’t realise how many people out there were hurting from psychological problems – mainly civilians – or people who were estranged from family,” Mr Dunne said. They had raised incredible amounts for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and for men’s health issues over the years – $250,000 in 2011 and $180,000 last year.
“We’re up to about $150,000 this year,” Mr Dunne said.
He encouraged anyone interested in mingling to go to the Green Room at the Gunnedah Services & Bowling Club.
“We encourage anybody in the community to come down and have a look at the bikes and have a talk to us,” he said.
It was important to spread the message about men’s health.
“There’s a hell of a lot out there for ladies, but not that much out there on men’s health.”
He said the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia was starting an online support group where people could chat about issues anonymously.
The riders from the ACT and NSW will link up with the West Australian contingent at Atherton, the South Australian riders at Charleville and the Northern Territory blokes at Hughendon.
“When we get to Atherton, we should be about 420-strong,” Mr Dunne said.
Chris Dunne can be contacted on 0419 279 337.