TWO RESCUE dogs will trot alongside Dr Ian Kamerman, his wife Marg and the rest of their family as they step it out this month.
The dogs were beloved by Sophie Kamerman, remembered as a caring and beautiful soul, who tragically took her own life last year after a long struggle with mental health.
Her dad, Tamworth GP Dr Kamerman, told the Leader her family had signed up to the Black Dog Institute's One Foot Forward Campaign in October, to raise money and awareness for mental health by walking 100km.
"The fact that this campaign is associated with physical exercise ... I don't get enough of it so it's a chance to get out and improve my own mental health and encourage others to do the same," he said.
"My daughter loved dogs and we still have got two of hers."
Between getting out for some fresh air, upping his "incidental exercise" in day-to-day life, and the treadmill as a last resort, Dr Kamerman and his team will tick off the kilometres throughout the month.
Funds raised for the Black Dog Institute help contribute towards key mental health education programs and research, and Dr Kamerman said awareness is incredibly important.
He said being able to seek help if needed - and knowing that it's always out there - was essential.
He said he talked to his own doctor in the aftermath of Sophie's passing and reached out to support groups.
"No one knows what you're going through, it's not a lived experience that you would wish upon anyone," he said.
"I know that there aren't any words to make you feel any better, but knowing there are other people out there to support you has been really helpful."
The family has also supported organisations like Headspace, and its therapy dog Pavlov, in memory of Sophie.
As a doctor who has worked long-term in Tamworth, and raised his family here, Dr Kamerman said it's clear there are huge social issues that contribute towards suffering, including anything from mental ill health to the housing crisis or the stress of the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Kamerman family can be supported on his 100km journey by donating online, or sharing the link for others.
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
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