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Pressing matters

BY PIPPA BOURKE
PRESSSUPS

She’s done it in a Pokemon suit, in McDonalds and now outside the Council Chambers- but Trish Ford’s mission is no laughing matter.

The Kamo mum-of-two is taking part in a 22 press-up challenge over 22 days in an effort to raise awareness for the signs of suicide.

“It was originally a nomination challenge on Facebook, but it’s so much more than that to me now,” she says. “Suicide is happening in our community and no one is talking about the signs.”

Ms Ford is a busy woman. She manages to fit at least an hour in for her challenge around operating three businesses in Whangarei, the Kamo Community Fitness Hub, Something Beautiful and Something Beautiful for Men.

She says it’s important to her not to just do the challenge in a room by herself.

“Community isn’t about Whangarei as a whole, it’s about the groups within the town. By doing this challenge out and about in different places I can show that there are groups out there for everyone, there are networks for everyone and no one needs to feel alone.”

Recently, Ms Ford did her 22 Press ups with Whangarei District Council CEO Rob Forlong. Being a man who regularly does karate, Mr Forlong managed the challenge with ease.

“It definitely wasn’t something that I expected to be doing at work today,” he says. “But all power to you guys bringing light to such a serious issue.”

Ms Ford says she didn’t expect to get such a keen response from the council.

“I actually just added [Mayor] Cheryl Mai as a friend on Facebook and sent her an email saying ‘wanna do some press-ups’ or something like that.”

During the remaining days of her challenge Ms Ford aims to get to at least one more high school, having already completed the challenge at both Tikipunga and Kamo High Schools.

“Adults are resourceful,” she says. “We know where to look for help. Teenagers don’t. I don’t want anyone to feel that they’re alone in our community.”

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