Anzac Day send off for hikers on 1000km Bibbulmun Track mission for veterans’ mental health

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Buddy Up Australia national director Megan Davidson in Nepal.
Camera IconBuddy Up Australia national director Megan Davidson in Nepal. Credit: Supplied

A group of hikers will set off from Albany on a 45-day mission for veterans’ mental health along the Bibbulmun Track this Anzac Day.

After joining Albany’s Anzac Day commemorations, six walkers from Queensland and WA will start along the trail, with three hikers planning to complete the entire 1005km stretch by June 8.

Brisbane man Ray Baker is leading the walk to raise funds and awareness for Buddy Up Australia, an organisation supporting the mental and physical health of serving and ex-military or emergency services personnel.

It is a cause close to the avid hiker’s heart, after seeing his own father, a World War II veteran, battle with post-traumatic stress disorder years after his return from the battlefields of Papua New Guinea.

“He was deeply traumatised by what happened and he suffered from PTSD for the rest of his life,” he said.

“Buddy Up does great work for ex-service people and ex-first responders who because of their service to country and community and their experiences have left them with PTSD. We need to get behind them and help them as much as we can.

Buddy Up Australia walkers Maria Bach, Jason Gallagher and Ray Baker.
Camera IconBuddy Up Australia walkers Maria Bach, Jason Gallagher and Ray Baker. Credit: Supplied

“I feel very privileged to be in Albany on Anzac Day it is very, very special to all of us.”

Perth woman and Buddy Up Australia founder Megan Davidson will be one of the many people to join the team along the way, walking alongside them for the first two days.

After serving in the Australian Army for 11 years, it was seeing her fellow servicemen and women struggle with PTSD that moved her to establish a service focused on prevention.

Buddy Up has now grown to 10 chapters across the country, helping service people and their families.

“We wanted to provide an alternative very much around fitness, around purposeful volunteering and mental health training and awareness,” she said.

To support the walkers visit the Buddy Up Australia Facebook Page.

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