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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
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From WA to NSW: Brothers cycle coast-to-coast for Integra

Two brothers are part-way through the ride of a lifetime, traversing the country in support of ACT-based organisation Integra Service Dogs Australia, which works with veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Brothers Brian and Ian Schumacher left Fremantle on Thursday 1 April to begin their 4,400km cycling journey that will take them through Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, the ACT and NSW.  

The pair will ride 120km a day for 44 days before they reach their final destination, Sydney. 

Brian and Ian belong to a family with several current defence force members and first responders, and share a passion for mental health initiatives.

They see the Coast-to-Coast ride as an opportunity to support both Integra and individuals experiencing PTSD, by raising money and awareness.

Integra works to pair assistance dogs like Libby (pictured) with veterans and first responders experiencing PTSD. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

“This is our way of saying thank you for your service.

“The impact of providing vulnerable people with a support dog that gives them renewed purpose, greater confidence and unconditional support is life changing – and it saves lives.”

Integra pairs veterans and first responders experiencing PTSD with an assistance dog and takes them through a training program together, strengthening their bond.

Chair of Integra’s advisory board, Brigadier Mark Holmes AM MVO (Retd), says every dollar raised by Brian and Ian will go directly to the organisation’s work – buying and caring for the dogs and delivering the training program.

“The primary [benefit] is obviously the reduction in the symptoms of post-traumatic stress [for the handler]. That really is the key one, and of course that then leads to less time in hospital, seeing specialists, less medication, less reliance on other substances that might not be healthy.

“We certainly see many families improve and the quality of their lives improve because their service man or woman or their first responder member of their family is in better shape. The whole family really does benefit.”

Brian and Ian’s planned route will see them in the ACT on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 May, before heading to Sydney via Wollongong.

For more information on the Coast-to-Coast ride or to donate to Brian and Ian’s efforts, visit the Integra website.

If this story raised concerns, help is available. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046. In an emergency, call 000.

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