Bikers cruise for a cause

By Melissa Keogh

The rumble of dozens of motorcycles will be heard at the Royal Adelaide Show on Sunday (September 10) when dozens of Murrayland bikers hit the bitumen for the Ride Against Suicide.

Up to 100 bikers will take part in the 190km cruise in aim of raising awareness of suicide and the ripple affect it has on loved ones.

Coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day 2017, riders will start their engines at Mannum before cruising up to Nuriootpa and Two Wells and descending on Adelaide.

In its second year, the Ride Against Suicide was instigated by Palmer woman Janet Kuys, who lost her son, Aaron, to suicide 10 years ago.

Murraylands woman Janet Kuys founded Silent Ripples in 2010.

Murraylands woman Janet Kuys founded Silent Ripples in 2010.

“My son was in a good job, he was a serving member of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force), and everything was going alright,” she says.

“It really has destroyed our family.”

But from tragedy sparked resilience and a determination to break down stigma.

Janet set out to establish a bereavement group in Murray Bridge so locals could reach out for support during times of loss.

Silent Ripples began with just three members, but by the second meeting it grew to half-a-dozen and now the group has a solid eight attendees who meet fortnightly.

Janet says the only way to break down the stigma of suicide and to deal with grief is to simply talk about it.

Janet Kuys of Silent Ripples, left, Ebony Gill from Headspace, and Dominique Tragos of Talk Out Loud at the SA Suicide Prevention Network stand in the Jubilee Pavilion at this year's Royal Adelaide Show.

Janet Kuys of Silent Ripples, left, Ebony Gill from Headspace, and Dominique Tragos of Talk Out Loud at the SA Suicide Prevention Network stand in the Jubilee Pavilion at this year’s Royal Adelaide Show.

“Our group is somewhere to talk without any fear of judgement … there’s very little nowadays that you could say that we haven’t heard,” she says.

“We feel that if we just start saying the word ‘suicide’ itself then people will get used to hearing it.”

Janet says Silent Ripples has been a safe-place of support for families as far as Karoonda and the Riverland.

As a life member of the Royal Adelaide Show, she saw the showground as a perfect place to help spread the word.

Last year marked the inaugural Ride Against Suicide with 40 bikes and 20 cyclists taking part in the event which coincided with R U OK? Day.

Leather and loud exhausts marked the inaugural Ride Against Suicide in 2016.

Leather and loud exhausts marked the inaugural Ride Against Suicide in 2016.

The Ride Against Suicide is organised with the help of the Royal Adelaide Show, R U OK?, The Longriders Christian Motorcycle Club, Skylight, SA Health and SA Suicide Prevention Networks.

The ride will set off from the Mannum RSL at 9am, but bikers can choose to join the convoy from either Nuriootpa or Two Wells.

The bikers will roar into the showground and gather at the main arena from about 2.30pm.

State Mental Health and Substance Abuse Minister Leesa Vlahos will make a speech at about 3pm.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website.

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