Meet the Hawaiian Ride for Youth cyclists

30 Oct 2019

Hawaiian is proud to partner with Youth Focus as the naming rights partner for the Ride for Youth - an important event which sees cyclists take the positive mental health message to young people and schools throughout regional Western Australia.

We are proud to present some of the cyclists who will take part in the event and raise money for Youth Focus. These riders live, work or have a tie to the communities in which Hawaiian operates and we are proud to present their stories.

This is Sophie Pugsley's reason for riding:

Sophie Pugsley has watched her Dad, Mark, ride in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth for eight years and this year she decided it was time to take part herself.

Sophie, a nurse at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital’s Neurosurgery ward, sees her fair share of struggles in her daily working life.

But it is the mental health struggles of her generation that has been the impetus for her to join the 2020 Hawaiian Ride for Youth.

“I, myself have experienced mental health struggles with anxiety and have witnessed a lot of people go through similar issues. I find one of the best things to do is talk; I think that is really important. If we, on the Hawaiian Ride for Youth, can raise awareness and empower this generation of youth to become advocates for their own mental, that would be amazing.”

The Hawaiian Ride for Youth in March 2020 will see the cyclists peddle through regional Western Australia for a week, stopping in regional towns to talk - and listen to - young people about mental health and youth suicide. The conversations are raw, confronting and empowering.

Hawaiian is proud to be the naming rights partner of the Ride for Youth which works to break down stigmas and generate meaningful conversations about mental health for young people.

The 2019 event raised $2.16 million for Youth Focus.

Each rider must fundraise at least $5000 for Youth Focus and the money raised goes directly into services to help young West Australians aged 12 to 25 at risk of serious mental health issues like suicide, depression and anxiety.

Sophie believes recognising struggles; whether it be in yourself or others, reaching out when you’re not feeling great and talking through issues can make a positive impact on mental health.

“In regional areas it can be so much tougher, just because they are so isolated,” Sophie says.

“It is so important that we can send a message that there are people ready to listen and they are here to help. Often the sense of being a burden is felt by people struggling with their mental health and there is still a massive stigma surrounding mental health. We as a community need to work together to break those boundaries and help build understanding and resilience.”

Sophie said the training so far had been a challenge, but fun.

“I have always been a person who gets up early in the morning, so what better cause is there to get up early in the morning? And I get to go riding with all these amazing and inspiring people, including my Dad, who is my best friend.”

Sophie’s reason for doing the 2020 Hawaiian Ride for Youth:

“I’m of the generation where mental health is becoming a big issue, so why not help future generations?

“If not me, then who?”

Sophie's Quick Quiz:

What’s the best part of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth? "The comradery. Just getting out there and chatting to all of the kids and seeing the impact the ride makes.

“If it tugs one kid’s heartstring and helps them to think about their mental health, then it’s better than nothing.”

What’s the worst part? "Being sore and tired. But that’s OK – it’s worth it!”

To find out more about the Hawaiian Ride for Youth and to support Sophie in her fundraising visit here