Ruralco’s athletic managing director, Travis Dillon, has already left the competition well down the track as he sets a cracking fundraising pace before this weekend’s popular City2Surf road race in Sydney.
With a team of 40 agribusiness colleagues and family members from the farm merchandising and services company’s offices in Sydney and around NSW and Victoria, Mr Dillon is currently the race event’s leading individual fundraiser.
So far he has collected almost $60,000 for Lifeline Australia’s around-the-clock crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Donations are still rolling in.
The Lifeline charity’s cause has been strongly supported by the Ruralco branch network for the past two years.
I’m not really a running enthusiast and it’s been a long time since my football days, so I’m not too sure what I’m getting myself into
The “Ruralco Rapide” team includes runners from head office in Sydney’s Macquarie Park, the Narrabri Davidson Cameron branch, Rodwells branches in Victoria, and the company’s Melbourne warehouse.
They are teaming up with 10 from Lifeline Australia’s office.
Overall, the Ruralco runners have raised more than $70,000 in sponsorship funds for Lifeline in the lead up to the 14 kilometre event between central Sydney and Bondi Beach on August 13.
Ruralco Rapide is currently coming fourth in the team fund raising stakes.
The City2Surf, recognised globally as both a fun run and challenging road race, has been staged annually since 1971 and attracts up to 80,000 runners.
Another Ruralco team, with 55 members from the company’s Primaries business in Western Australia, will run Perth’s Chevron City2Surf, also in support of Lifeline, on August 28.
Last year Mr Dillon made news in agribusiness circles, and further afield, donating his entire managing director’s bonus of $140,000 to Lifeline.
His 11-year-old son Max will be among those in the Ruralco team running the Sydney race.
“To be honest, I’m not really a running enthusiast and it’s been a long time since my football days, so I’m not too sure what I’m getting myself into,” Mr Dillon said.
His organisation was passionate about supporting Lifeline’s work for people in regional, rural and remote Australia, where the suicide rate was twice that of the general population.
“If stomping out a few kilometres in the name of suicide prevention helps somebody in their darkest moment, then it will have been worth it,” he said.
Last year the publically-listed business embarked on a national suicide prevention roadshow with Lifeline in eastern Australia, delivering educational training to hundreds of frontline staff and customers.
“We know people living off the land can do it tough, be it due to unpredictable weather, financial pressure or a lack of appropriate support services,” Mr Dillon said.
“While there is incredible strength and resilience to be found in rural Australian communities, the team at Ruralco wants to send a message that you never have to be alone. Help is available.”
He was buoyed by the “extraordinary financial support” given to the Ruralco effort and him in particular, with corporate supply partners proving particularly generous.
Farm chemical maker, Nufarm, which pledged $10,000, was among many merchandise suppliers to make donations.
“It is important I acknowledge suppliers in our industry who stand shoulder to shoulder with us on this issue supporting me and the team by donating vital funds to continue Lifeline’s work,” Mr Dillon said.
Lifeline Australia chief executive officer, Bob Gilkes, noted “once again”, Ruralco was making an “immeasurable contribution” to stopping suicide in rural, regional and remote Australia.
“In supporting us at this year’s City2Surf, Ruralco is helping ensure many more individuals, families and even whole communities do not have to experience the profound heartache of losing someone to suicide.”
- For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp