13 September 2019

"We all get busy but we should never be too busy to look after ourselves or others." - Batemans Bay's Kym Bayley

| Elise Searson
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Bob Bayley died from bowel cancer. Photo: Kym Bayley

It’s been a heartbreaking journey for Eurobodalla property manager, Kym Bayley who’s on a mission to raise funds and awareness for men’s mental and physical health.

‘Run for Bob’ was inspired by the passing of more than just one man in Kym’s family, “we lost my dad in 2012 to Bowel Cancer, his brother five weeks prior to him with bowel cancer also. Then in 2014 the father of my children (Jesse 22 and Cody 21) committed suicide and in 2016 a very special Uncle passed away.”

Kym now owes her newly found coping mechanisms to professional support and strategies, “I had a very amazing psychologist that helped me throughout all of this, I honestly don’t know where I would have been without her. I want everyone to realise how talking can help in regards to physical and mental health.”

Rachel Clements is the Director of Psychological Services at the Centre for Corporate Health and is a member of the R U OK? Conversation Think Tank.

“The signs may be subtle, but it’s likely that you’ll pick up on a number of indicators that someone is struggling,” Rachel says.

“As everyone is different and may respond differently to these thoughts and feelings, it’s important you trust your gut instinct when you notice a shift or change in someone and reach out to them.”

After baring witness to her sons heartbreak when their dad committed suicide Kym Bayley vowed to change the way men are expected to process intense emotion.

“My boys carried a lot of shame about what their dad did, it took a lot for them and I realise it wasn’t our fault. We have lost so many to cancer, heart attack, stroke and suicide, so we decided to organise this run as awareness of men’s physical and mental health for the people left behind to grieve,” Kym says.

“I want all men to realise how important they are as a grandfather, a husband, a dad, a son, a brother, an uncle and even just a person. Have regular check-ups and talk – especially when they are depressed. People love you and need you.”

Jesse, Kym and Cody Bayley. Photo: Supplied.

The original plan for the run was to donate the money raised to the oncology unit in Moruya but after waiting months for a response, the ins and outs of organising a public event became a nightmare. This bump in the road was a blessing in disguise opening the door for a more accessible fundraising option, one not many have heard about.

“A virtual run means you run anywhere at the same time on the same day, post all your photos to me and it’s like we are all running-walking together towards this amazing cause. Wherever you are on the 27th of October at 8 am and send me your pics.” Kym says.

“I nursed my dad until the end and he was one week off 72 years old, way too young and no fault of his at all but maybe I would still have my dad today if he had done the bowel cancer test?

“I have spoken to so many men over 60 years old and the majority of them said they threw the test away when it arrived, pretty sure that’s what my dad did.

“I decided to organise this run in honor of my dad to raise awareness of the people left behind, who struggle to get up every single day because they have lost a loved one to cancer, depression-suicide or a heart condition.

“We all get busy but we should never be too busy to look after ourselves or others,” Kym says.

There will also be a trivia night and raffles leading up to the virtual run. Kym has a $1500 fundraising goal, you can help get there by donating HERE.

Do you need to ask for help? – Life Line, Beyond Blue, Teen Clinic, Headspace, RU Okay? or talk to your doctor.

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Oh my goodness Kym, i had no idea what you have been thru. A wonderful tribute to the men you have lost and the hope for others that things will get better…

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