• Tony Bosworth

Hope Walk is another big step in raising awareness about personal tragedy



Yesterday we shared Facebook posts of this year’s Hope Walk but we didn’t want to let the day go by without talking to its founder, Di Russell, director of the Hope4u Foundation, organisers of the annual walk.


“Over the years I always find there are moving conversations about lost loved ones or personal struggles and Saturday was no exception,” Ms Russell told the Post.

“The Hope Walk reinforces the importance of awareness about the issue of suicide, its prevention and support for those whose lives have been touched by it,” Ms Russell said. “Five years ago I decided to hold a Hope Walk to raise awareness about a subject which for far too long had been taboo. My son died from suicide and I have a lived experience.”


Organiser Di Russell talks about the importance of Hope Walk


Despite the rain on Saturday, many people turned up, including representatives from across the political divide who came together in a common goal – to not only help those sadly left behind and grieving, often with unanswered questions, but also to help support those going through their own tough times, to give them support.

Macquarie MP Susan Templeman who has been on every Hope Walk since it started five years ago said: “Support has grown and while the rain may have reduced the numbers, it didn’t dampen the determination of many to show support for better suicide prevention and to acknowledge the pain of bereaved families and resilience of survivors.”

Councillor Danielle Wheeler, Deputy Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett, Di Russell


Ms Russell said: “It is evident within the wider community that people are reaching out, seeking help or helping those who need it, talking about experiences, fears and feelings.” Deputy Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett has also been there for every Hope Walk and she made a heart-felt speech on Saturday.


“We have been pushed to new limits with natural disasters and the pandemic, as many have faced additional pressures and increased social isolation. Now, more than ever, we need to spread the message that it’s okay to ask for help, physically, financially or emotionally.


Macquarie MP Susan Templeman holding the camera (left) with fellow Hope walkers including councillor Emma-Jane Garrow (in sunglasses)


“Susan Templeman MP, councillor Danielle Wheeler, and councillor Emma-Jane Garrow have supported this cause from the onset, watching it grow and broaden in reach.


“It is a testament to Di’s advocacy that this year we were joined by the Mayor Patrick Conolly, councillor Sarah Richards and Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston. We must all continue this valuable and essential work,” the Deputy Mayor said.


Deputy Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett gives a heartfelt speech as Mayor Patrick Conolly watches on


Ms Russell knows for many it’s one step at a time, but many steps have now been taken by Hope4u Foundation and she says the walk goes on.


“I want to raise an awareness that one day we can have a state-wide walk for suicide awareness and prevention, that we can colour the city yellow with acknowledgement to those who have died to suicide and break the stigma.” The Hope4u Foundation is there for you. You can access the free counselling and support by calling 1800 467 348 or go to Hope4u.com.au




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