Riding for Lifeline

By Tema Hemi

An advocate of suicide prevention is cycling the length of the country to raise funds to help the very people who helped him in his time of need.

Three years ago Ariki Gerrard reached out to Lifeline for help that saved his life. 

It's a day that Gerrard remembers too well.

"I couldn't see the beauty in the day and deep down inside I was sad and I couldn't really come to.  I was pretty much contemplating to leave, and I was gonna give it all up and drive off the road into a bridge."

He says depression had taken its toll on him.

"When I come back from Australia I just felt lost in my own home and a lot of things weren't working for me at that time.  I lost my job and I couldn't really get along with my whānau because I was to lost in the Australian way, you know money and finances and all that."

Fortunately for Gerrard he made a crucial decision that saved his life.

"I pretty much googled 'help' and that's the only thing I knew what to do at that time- and Lifeline came up."

Now he's biking from Cape Reinga to the Bluff to raise funds for Lifeline.

Clinical Manager at Lifeline Renee Mathews says, "We're not currently funded by the government or any other organisation or agency.  We rely on trusts and grants and donations and fundraising."

Gerrard has a message to share.

"Its all good to ask for help.  It's all good to talk to the old lady or talk to your missus, even take the dog for a walk and talk to yourself, its all good.  You've got to let it out."

Gerrard is six days into his mission and has already raised two thirds of his $1,500 target.

You can make a donation at www.everydayhero.com