Surf Life Saving Clubs around Australia participated in a 24 Hour Row to raise money for mental fitness charity Gotcha4Life.
Over 2,000 surf club members and rowers gathered in 40 Surf Life Saving Clubs and gyms in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia from midday (AEDST) Saturday 30 October until midday Sunday 31 October.
Participants took turns on rowing machines for up to one hour each and kept the machines going non-stop for the full 24 hour period.
Some of Australia’s top athletes including Olympic rower Georgie Rowe took part alongside public figures such as boxer Paul Gallen and actor Hugh Jackman.
The event is the brainchild of one of the country’s top surf boat coaches Nathan Wellings from Avalon Beach SLSC and his wife Mel who started the event in 2018 after a tragic spate of youth suicides in the Northern Beaches area.
“Mental fitness and the awareness of how to help friends and family is so important and we’re glad that our little event is now able to help save lives nationwide,” said 24 Hour Row founder Mel Wellings.
All locations were connected via Zoom and a livestream was broadcast on the 24 Hour Row Facebook page for everyone to watch, support and donate.
The event raised $147, 853 (as of November 2) for Gotcha4Life, a not-for-profit that delivers mental fitness programs that engage, educate and empower local communities, with a focus on early intervention and the power of prevention through connection.
Gotcha4Life Founder Gus Worland said, “We love the 24 Hour Row, now in its fourth year. It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together, raise funds to build mental fitness and have fun along the way! Our programs are needed now more than ever, and funds raised will allow us to work with individuals and communities to reduce instances of poor mental health and build stronger connections.”
Every $40 raised allows a participant to take part in a lifesaving Gotcha4Life mental fitness workshop. The ripple effect of that one person being connected and supported could mean many more lives are saved. For more information about Gotcha4Life, click here.