Today we celebrate World Mental Health Day across the globe. For two Brisbane-born brothers however, it means much more as they finally end their epic 2.5 year fundraising journey in support of the Mental Health Research Program at QIMR Berghofer Research Institute.
Dylan and Lawson Reid, also known as the Brothers Reid, tragically lost their sister, Heidi, to depression in September 2011 when she was just 27 years old. It was this event that inspired them to ride their motorbikes around the world in two and a half years to raise awareness and funds for mental health research.
Despite broken bones, harsh climates, rough terrain and even getting detained, the Brothers Reid are due to finish the last of their 100,000 kilometre journey this morning in Brisbane. This incredible feat took them through six continents and 50 countries over 938 days, spurred on by their passion for this important cause.
QIMR Berghofer is a world-leading research institution, and the Mental Health Research Program is at the forefront of scientific efforts to better understand and treat mental illness.
The key goal of the research is to combine existing work in genetics and population health with new techniques in neurosciences. The hope is that the team will develop capacity to use genetic, imaging and computational approaches to understand and diagnose mental illness and disorders, much like we use scans and tests to understand a patient’s physical health.
This approach, based on improved knowledge of pathophysiology, will allow more personal and targeted therapies that have the potential to change the lives of those with disorders like Heidi’s.
The institute’s research spans mental health diseases from depression and schizophrenia to the genetics of anorexia nervosa and migraines, headed up by experts in the fields of cellular and molecular neurodegeneration, genetic epidemiology, neuroscience and neurogenomics.
The Brothers Reid are hoping to raise $200,000 for QIMR Berghofer, and are creeping closer to their goal every day. What better way to mark this years’ World Mental Health Day than to support them in this massive achievement. Visit their website to find out more about their journey, or to donate to the cause.
Sarah Condie is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.
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