For Anytime Fitness area manager Annamaria Cimone, the Tread Together 24-Hour Treadmill Challenge on May 25 at the Wetherill Park club is about keeping a promise.
Annamaria lost her uncle Tony Varacalli to suicide leaving behind his two children and his wife Stella.
“I planned to do an event with my aunty and help raise money and awareness for suicide as at the time we had not much understanding about the reason behind it,” she said.
“Unfortunately my aunty got diagnosed with cancer and past away and she believes it was because of the stress of not knowing why her husband committed suicide.
“So this event is a big deal. I’m doing this on behalf of the aunty for my uncle.”
More than 250 Anytime Fitness clubs across Australia are taking part in the event, with the aim of raising $500,000 for Suicide Prevention Australia. The Wetherill Park club has set a target of $10,000.
Members and the general public are asked to nominate themselves for a slot of 15-minutes or more on the treadmill, with the option to walk, run or even dance to raise awareness and funds for suicide.
Remarkably, suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 18-44, with more Australians losing their lives to suicide each year than road accidents or skin cancer.
“I want to get the awareness out there that it is OK to speak to people and reach out, especially for men because they feel like can speak up,” said Annamaria, who plans to spend a large chunk of the 24-hours on the treadmill.
“We would love to see the whole community get behind this important cause. Suicide takes eight lives every day in Australia and it’s something that has impacted many members of our community. The Tread Together 24-Hour Treadmill Challenge is a way for the community to come together and help make a positive impact for suicide prevention in a fun and supportive environment.”
The Tread Together 24-Hour Treadmill Challenge starts on May 25 at 3pm. Anytime Fitness Wetherill Park is located in Greenway Plaza & Homemaker Greenway.