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Ward organising swim-a-thon to support suicide prevention

Friday, 15 February 2019
By Wayne Robinson

Swimming for mental health support: Andrew Ward (rear blue shirt) and the Head Above Water team in training for 24 hour swim-a-thon at Collaroy

Andrew Ward, Konica Minolta sales manager for Production and Strategic Sales in NSW, is running a 24 hour swim-a-thon to support mental health and suicide prevention initiatives among men.

The swim-a-thon will raise funds for mental health charity Gotcha4life, it will also raise awareness of men’s mental health initiatives, and will provide networking and support opportunities for men on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The group is expecting 500 people to take part in the 24 hour event. It will take placeat Collaroy rockpool between 9am on Saturday 16 March and 9am on Sunday 17 March. Registrations to swim are open, and there are four levels of swimmer to choose from; beginner, hack, weekend warrier and pro.

Money will be raised through a $30 registration fee, sponsorships and fundraising. You can register to swim and raise money and donate here.

Ward said, “It is a 24 hour swim because sadly men often take their own lives after midnight. Here on the northern beaches the official figures for last year revealed that between 30 and 40 men committed suicide, and the true number may have been double that.”

Ward is a co-founder in fundraising group Head Above the Water, which is hosting the swim-a-thon at Collaroy rockpool.

Gus World from radio station TripleM is a big supporter of this event, with other local sporting celebrities likely to be involved. There will be a heap of action at the pool, including music, along with kids activities such as face painting, and an ice cream truck. Collaroy is a local beauty spot, with a plethora of top notch cafes, pubs and restaurants next to the beach and pool.

Head Above Water was founded by Ward and friends, many of whom have been touched by the negative effects of poor mental health. The rate of suicide on the beaches is significantly high. That, coupled with the national rate of suicide rising, has been the inspiration for Head Above Water to take action, with their swim-a-thon the first event hosted by the group, and raising money for Gotcha4life.

Konica Minolta is supporting the initiative through its NSW Branch and is encouraging staff to take part. Ward will be swimming along with other Konica Minolta colleagues – at this stage there are four other staff members swimming. The Konica Minolta team is booked in for 4pm-5pm on the Saturday, Ward himself will be kicking off the event with a 9am-10am swim, he will join the Konica Minolta team at 4pm, and will then do another hour in the early hours of the morning.

 

 

One Response to “Ward organising swim-a-thon to support suicide prevention”

  1. February 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm,

    said:

    Good on you Andrew
    Mental health is such an important topic and needs to be addressed through amazing initiatives such as this.
    See you on the Northern Beaches. Well done.

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