Loss of 8 kids to suicide inspires Toyota record fundraiser
AFTER Carrie Smart saw her two sons lose eight mates to suicide in three years, she knew something had to be done.
After moving to Dirranbandi 18 months ago from Gundagai, New South Wales, Mrs Smart has ferried her two sons back and forth to attend the funerals of their mates - the last of which in December.
On their 10 hour trip back into town, Mrs Smart's oldest son, Mitch, who turned 18 last week, turned to his mum for help.
"He said to me, 'I don't want an 18th birthday mum, I want you to help me raise money," she said.
"He wanted me to help him find a way that o support teenage suicide and mental health organisations.
"I felt so proud to be a mum of a boy who wanted to do that.
"They find it hard, they don't understand why but they'd like to understand.
"They pull themselves together with their mates."
Noticing the flocks of Toyota vehicles on the high street, Mrs Smart and her family, the Smarts, were inspired to attempt a world record, one they don't believe has been achieved before.
"I couldn't find a record anywhere about the most Toyotas in one place," she said.
"So we're going to give it a go. Hopefully we get more than 500 Toyotas come into town, not only to help bring awareness to this issue, but also to help Dirran."
Mrs Smart said there was not enough support for young people, particularly men, struggling with mental health in rural communities.
"There's not enough, so maybe this is a way to pull them all together and get them talking."
Anyone with a Toyota is invited to make their way west to Dirranbandi on January 25, with money raised to be split between the Local Ambulance Committee, and a youth mental health organisation.
Since forming their Facebook page, Dirran's doing it for your mates, Mrs Smart and her family have been flooded with support.
For more information, head to the Facebook page.
If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 14 44.