2019 Hawaiian Ride for Youth - Jacinta Wandel


The ‘Hawaiian Ride for Youth’ charity bike event is held annually in March across 4.5 days. (The Hawaiian group is the naming rights sponsor of this event.) This year 180 riders have registered to ride 3000km across regional Western Australia from March 26 to 29 2019 in a bid to raise critical awareness of youth mental health issues and to raise vital funds for Youth Focus to support youth at risk of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide. Training for the 2019 Ride commenced mid-October. There are 3 training sessions per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings) for the next 6 months.

Youth Focus is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that supports vulnerable West Australian young people (12-25 years old) and their families by providing a range of unlimited counselling, intervention and mental health prevention services free of charge.

Now in its 17th year, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth will see 30 teams traverse four routes: the Coastal, Inland and Wheatbelt from Albany to Perth, and the Midwest from Geraldton to Perth. Along the journey riders will stop at 25 regional high schools and engage with more than 3,500 students to communicate the importance of good mental health and wellbeing. The charity event works to highlight important social issues among young people and has earn’t its place as one of Australia’s premier charity events. It is once again a Finalist in the 2017 Australian Event Awards.

Since its inception the Ride has raised more than $19.5 million to support Youth Focus in providing free mental health services to thousands of young people each year. 1 in 4 young West Australians (12-25 years old) are affected by mental illness, and we lose one to suicide a week. Each participant in the Ride shares a common passion – to improve the lives of our young people. Each rider must raise $5,000 to participate. We also pay an up-front Registration Fee of $1,600 to ensure we cover our own costs of participation (accommodation, food, etc) thus all funds raised go directly towards the service provisions of Youth Focus.


This will be my second year as a rider. I am once again in Phil Renshaw’s team, who is the Chairman of the Ride and a Board member of Youth Focus. This year I will be riding the Coastal route from Albany to Perth.

I was not a cyclist, didn’t own a bike and had no fitness when I started preparing 12 months ago for my first Ride (2018 event). And suffered numerous injuries as a result, which the Lifecare Cottesloe clinic is well aware of and the treatment services I received were a major contributor to my being able to participate in the event! Hopefully this time things will be different – I am at least accustomed to cycling, and shouldn’t experience the extreme weather conditions during Ride Week.

What remains the same is my commitment and passion for The Ride and its purpose. I love to help others and this enables me to ‘practice what I preach’ to my children. My children are now old enough to understand about social issues and my participation gives me the opportunity to model some of the values we are trying to teach them:

  1. Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle;
  2. Set yourself a goal that you have to work hard to achieve;
  3. Be community-minded, volunteer, give back.
  4. Mental health can affect anyone, and it’s okay to ask for help for yourself or for a friend.