Meet the Hawaiian Ride for Youth cyclists

29 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 Matt Gibbs' reason for riding:

Matt Gibbs is refreshingly open and honest when it comes to discussing mental health.

His family have faced many significant struggles and he is determined not to let stigma stymie important conversations around mental health.

“I have had experiences of mental health issues, my Mum had post-natal depression with me and has had varying levels ranging from just feeling “off” through to all the way to being institutionalised. Mum attempted suicide a couple of times in my life, so she has had a rough trot with her mental health,” Matt reveals.

“My Dad had a mental breakdown (PTSD) and left his job as a Policeman when I was 16 and I had depression whist at University. My wife has also had her own battle with depression. It’s everywhere.

“I consciously try to work through the stigma that can surround mental health, so I try to bring these things up whenever I can to make sure that I don’t feel weird about it and I hope it will make other people feel comfortable to tell their story too.”

The 2020 Hawaiian Ride for Youth will be Matt’s second as rider, although he has done two as support crew – an essential part of the ride. Matt’s wife Lynda is volunteering as support crew again in 2020, which will be her seventh as Lead Massage Therapist.

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.

Matt says Youth Focus is so important because it offers unlimited services for young people struggling with their mental health.

“If this was around when I was a kid I would have had a very different journey, I just think the services it offers is just incredible,” Matt says.

When asked what advice he would give to a young person struggling with their mental health, Matt responds: “Talk to people about it. People understand more than you realise.”

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

“I want to empower this generation to help the next. It’s so important to have that skill-set for life.”

Matt’s Quick Quiz:

What’s the best part of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth?“The school visits. I was lucky enough to present last year and there is always at least one kid that gets Youth Focus help on that day, it is incredible.”

What’s the worst part: “Waxing my legs! That is horrible.”

To learn more about the Hawaiian Ride for Youth or to help Matt Gibbs to fundraise for Youth Focus, visit here