WITH hundreds of Kyabram P-12 College’s students behind her, wellbeing and engagement leader Karli Myers reached her 100km goal as part of the ‘Clock the K’s for R U OK?’ challenge on Friday.
In what was a gruelling month, Karli pushed herself to run every day to reach the incredible milestone, all in the name of supporting people faced with tragedy.
And for Karli, her biggest motivator was a very special girl from Queensland, who lost her father to suicide.
“In 2018 I volunteered for Camp Magic, a place where children who have lost a family member or carer can come together to share their grief with the support of a one-on-one mentor. I am the grief mentor for a nine-year-old girl named Matilda,” she said.
“Matilda is a very energetic, bubbly little girl but she was young when she lost her father and it’s very difficult for her to understand that. She constantly misses him greatly.
“Her and I share this amazing bond, yet when she calls it’s often filled with tears as her dad suicided. This is not okay, full stop.”
Karli said R U OK was an important initiative, as it worked to de-stigmatise mental health and help people before they even thought about suicide.
And as Kyabram P-12 College’s wellbeing and engagement leader, she said the challenge was a great opportunity to set a positive example for its students.
“It’s a really important initiative to be able to teach our kids to ask R U OK?,” she said.
“My role is the wellbeing and engagement leader of Kyabram P-12 College, and it’s really important for me to role-model positive mental health.”
Throughout July, Karli ran at least 3km every day in order to hit the 100km mark.
And along the way, she managed to raise $4258, the highest total out of all individuals who took part in the challenge.
For her final 3km, Karli decided to complete her journey at Kyabram P-12 College’s oval, with hundreds of staff and students joining her.
“It was challenging, but it was motivating with the staff and students joining me. By the 31st day of running my body was feeling the exhaustion,” Karli said.
“It was quite overwhelming. I didn’t expect so many of the children across the whole college to get involved. It was very motivating and great to know that we were not only running, but we were also educating the students on how to ask R U OK?.
“This girl ran by my side the whole time, and I didn’t know the student. Halfway through the run I said, ‘you haven’t left my side’ and she said to me, ‘I’m not leaving your side’. It was really empowering to know this student wanted to support me as well.
“I was really proud that I achieved it without taking a break. While running I was thinking about people who had lost their family members, and Matilda.”
You can still donate to Karli’s cause at join.ruok.org.au/fundraisers/karlimyers/ksforruok
More from the Kyabram Free Press: