Whitsunday Council worker pushes limits to raise awareness
WHITSUNDAY council worker Sarah Bon will trek the Kokoda track to raise awareness and funds for Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network this May.
On May 28 Ms Bon will leave for Papua New Guinea to push herself to the limits in honour of her nephew, the late Peter Dejong, and open the conversation on mental health.
"It was like living in a nightmare and I hope by sharing his story we can stop other families going through such a horrific ordeal,” Ms Bon said.
"I felt the need to start the Peter Project on New Year's 2017.
"I had a friend that attempted to take his life that night, that luckily survived.
"I tried a few years ago, but it got shut down as people were too scared to talk.”
Ms Bon described Peter as "very adventurous and outgoing”.
"I'm the opposite so I thought if I'm going to honour him I have to do something challenging that encompasses who he was,” she said.
Peter attempted to take his own life in December 2008, he was revived and spent the next year in hospital where he turned 18.
For the next six years Peter was in a semi- vegetative state. He diedon April 4, 2014.
"It's okay to ask people for help or to listen, you're not alone and that's what we want Peter's legacy to be,” she said.
The self confessed born and bred Bowenite is self-funding the trip and admits preparations have challenged her.
"I'm really nervous and have six weeks with a lot more training to do,” she said. "It's getting me out of my comfort zone, my life is work, family and home.
"There's been a lot of physical preparation, but the mental prep especially, not having my hubby there is going to be my biggest challenge.
Ms Bon will trek for 10 days from Owers Corner up the Kokoda track.
"The way I'm going is uphill with heavy terrain, we'll trek 20km per day”.
Her focus is more on starting a conversation, but she has raised $12,000 for the WSPN.
"That money will be used for families in the prevention and in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one.”