A FORMER local woman will embark on an “odyssey of hope” from Brisbane to Tamworth this week to raise funds and awareness for the condition that took her brother’s life.
Lucy Eykamp, a high-level endurance athlete who grew up in Moree and Tamworth, will begin her cycle and run from Brisbane tomorrow to honour the memory of her late brother, Will Eykamp.
Will took his own life last year at age 43 after a battle with schizophrenia.
Ms Eykamp will take a similar route to the one her brother made on horseback on two occasions, traversing through back roads and even cutting across paddocks.
“After Will took his own life I knew I needed to do something,” Ms Eykamp said.
“We need to raise awareness about the effect schizophrenia has on people and their families.
“We had Will assessed but no one told us what to expect; no one helped.”
Ms Eykamp will cover 730km in 10 days and a group of Will’s friends will ride along with her on horseback on the Kingston to Bendemeer leg.
A number of his friends this year formed the Will Eykamp Foundation in a bid to raise money for research into the mental health condition.
The foundation will conduct a fundraising lunch – called the Will Eykamp Foundation Long Lunch – in Tamworth next Saturday.
Ms Eykamp’s mum, Jenny, will drive a support vehicle throughout the trip.
“It’s going to be interesting ... we’re crossing a couple of national parks and private properties,” Ms Eykamp said.
“I really just want to honour what Will did on horseback.
“Some people thought he was an idiot for doing it but he just loved the simplicity of it; the fact he could do it the old-fashioned way.”
To donate, go to www. fundrazr.com/campaigns and search for the Will Eykamp Run-Bike Challenge.