Swimming for a cause: Swim club takes part in fundraiser

Michelle Paton is participating in Laps for Life.
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Did you know that each year more young people die by suicide than in car accidents or from cancer?

Sadly, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Australia and it’s a situation that’s only going to get worse until more help is delivered in the underfunded mental health space.

Fortunately, there are organisations out there doing their bit to raise awareness and much-needed funds to battle youth mental health.

One of the more creative initiatives out there is ReachOut Australia’s Laps for Life, which sees individuals as well as swimming clubs come together to swim laps during the month of March.

For the first time in their long and proud history, Penrith RSL Swimming Club will be diving into Laps for Life this month.

The aim is for swimmers to swim as many laps as they can, in whatever swimming stroke they chose, at whatever time that suits them.

Penrith RSL Swimming Club currently has nine participants signed up to Laps for Life, with a $2000 fundraising goal, which will go towards preventing youth suicide.

Speaking with the Weekender, Penrith RSL Swimming Club Vice President Richard Long said he got the idea for Laps for Life from his wife Karri.

“My wife was researching it and we were on board with the cause helping youth mental health and the prevention of youth suicide,” he said.

Penrith RSL Swimming Club’s Richard Long.

“We were initially going to do it as individuals and then I said we should reach out to the swimmers in the club and put a team together. As soon as I raised it, people were interested.”

Penrith RSL Swimming Club have set the challenge of a minimum 120 laps per team member, with money already pouring in for charity.

With a large number of young swimmers at his club, Long said supporting youth mental health is very important to him.

“The cause is tremendous,” he said.

“There’s far too many youth suicides in Australia. It’s 2024 and it just shouldn’t happen.

“A lot of the time it’s very difficult to get into mental health facilities for young people because there’s simply not enough funding. I think early intervention will prevent that.”

Currently, Penrith RSL Swimming Club are more than halfway to their fundraising goal.

If you’re able to donate to ReachOut’s Laps for Life, visit https://shorturl.at/bvF23.

All funds raised will help young people feel better about today and the future, no matter what challenge they are facing.

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