Geelong real estate agent and Big Brother star Daniel Hayes has helped raise $35,000 for telephone crisis support organisation Lifeline, with his charity motorcycle ride.
Mr Hayes was joined by 1000 motorcycles and riders for the 120km Million Dollar Bogan Lifeline Ride from Geelong to Apollo Bay and said the third ride was the biggest and best yet.
“They said on the radio, ‘Does anyone know what’s happening because they (motorcycle riders) have shut down the Geelong freeway’,” he said.
“There were more than 1000 motorcycles and about 1400 people. People just came out to see it.”
Mr Hayes is the managing director at Hayeswinckle, has starred in two seasons of Big Brother, has a popular YouTube channel called Million Dollar Bogan and is a sought-after speaker and author.
He said the ride was all about raising awareness about mental health issues and money for Lifeline.
“I do have a social media platform and rather than advertise (on) that I’m putting some sunscreen on and (rather than) get paid $500 for it like most people do, I’d rather use it to promote something like this,” Mr Hayes said.
“Lifeline is a not-for-profit organisation, it employs 10,000 volunteers and last year the phone rang more than one million times.”
Mr Hayes has suffered from mental health issues over the years, as has his brother, and he said it was one of the most prevalent issues in society today.
“We’re all touched by someone with mental health issues or we have them ourselves,” he said.
“One in four (people) have mental health issues.”
Mr Hayes said he was particularly passionate about stamping out things like online trolling and also helping men, who were often told to just get on with things.
“Men sometimes cop a hard rap,” he said.
“Men are told they can’t be emotional or they’ve got to tough it out.
“In Australia there’s nine (suicides) a day and most of those are men.”
Mr Hayes said Australia’s suicide rates were about double the road toll and yet significantly more funding went to reducing the road toll than suicide and mental health prevention.
“It’s a disgrace,” he said.
As well as the ride, Mr Hayes said auctioning his 15-year-old Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket raised $6500.
“I’ve used that jacket on many rides, from the Arctic to Everest, New Zealand and all over the world,” he said.
“I signed it, auctioned it off and got $6500.”
Mr Hayes promised the ride would be back in 2024 and he’d need to organise a bigger venue for the riders to meet at given the attendance at this year’s ride.
- If you, or anyone you know is struggling with mental wellbeing, help is available at:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 (or lifeline.org.au)
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (or beyondblue.org.au)