Fernie local embarks on challenge for Schizophrenia
Fernie resident Lucy Eykamp will be running, biking, and horseback riding her way across 730 kilometres in Australia this spring. Eykamp has taken on a personal challenge to make it from Brisbane to Tamworth in nine days to raise money and awareness for mental illness, specifically Schizophrenia.
“My brother Will suffered from Schizophrenia and sadly took his life due to it. He rode this distance on horseback and I am also wanting to honour this achievement in doing this challenge,” explained Eykamp. “The challenge has been planned to finish on his birthday weekend and a celebratory lunch has been planned where 150 people can celebrate his life and also spend time together.”
“We are travelling through countryside that Will spent many years of his life and rode his horses through this land, so we will be remembering him along the way.”
She went on to say, “This has been a wonderful way for my family to deal with his loss. I hope that I can try and help raise awareness for Schizophrenia and remove some of the negative stigma associated with it. Sadly, one per cent of the population is genetically pre-disposed to getting this illness and the negative stigma is so strong. Sadly also, is that support for this illness is very limited.”
Eykamp will travel on backcountry roads, trails, and through National Parks over nine days, completing the equivalent of 17 marathons. Her boyfriend, Fernie Physiotherapist Bob Maudie, mother, and friends will support Eykamp along the way, even joining her for certain sections.
“There are many parts of is this challenge that have great personal meaning for both me and my family, but also for all of Will's friends,” said Eykamp. “In preparing for this challenge I was planning on camping most of the way, however, as the planning has evolved, friends of Will, even complete strangers, have offered up their homes for us to stay in along the way. People are so happy to give to this cause, which has been wonderful.”
Eykamp has been working hard for the last few months preparing herself for the journey.
“Training has been hard with winter, but I have been going to the gym, skiing, and running with snowshoes,” commented Eykamp. “Now that the South Country has become snow free, Bob and I have been out on the Wigwam Flats biking and running on the weekends and late after work.”
She added, “We have several long days planned over the next few days as well as doing the Powder Peddle Paddle solo. Hopefully it will be sufficient - but then it is a challenge!”
Eykamp will embark on her challenge May 9.