Home' Air Force News : June 6th 2013 Contents 19
June 6, 2013
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IT WAS about four o'clock in the
morning when Chris Dunne, suffer-
ing a personal battle with post trau-
matic distress and nearing compul-
sory retirement from the Air Force,
was caught by his son drinking a
bottle of Scotch.
Asked what he was doing, Chris
said he was "going for a ride".
His son replied, "Dad, if you're
going to do that then you're going
to Darwin and doing it for a rea-
son -- you're not killing yourself".
At the time, Chris didn't realise
that he hadn't spoken to anyone,
including his wife and son, about his
feelings. He was simply going to end
So he sent out an email, explain-
ing what he was going through and
was quite amazed by how many men
and women replied that they felt the
"They were buggered and had no-
one to talk to," Chris said.
"In the country you call it 'going
up to the back shed', where people
feel they have run out of options -- I
was pretty close to that."
Chris, a retired Air Force WOD,
introduced the concept of the Long
Ride in 2004.
The first Long Ride in 2007
raised $50,000 for the Royal Flying
Doctor Service Australia, with mem-
bers riding from Sydney to Darwin.
"On the ride into Darwin there
were more than 330 riders involved,
thundering into Darwin after a very
emotional and historic eight days
travelling across Australia," he said.
During that first ride, a fellow
rider told Chris he should do the ride
to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
Chris replied, "What is a prostate?"
"I'm a 57-year-old man and I
didn't know that men had a prostate
and that it could kill us," he said.
By the end of the first Long Ride
his mind was made up to ride to raise
awareness of prostate cancer and
In 2008, the Long Ride travelled
to Perth in support of prostate cancer.
Around 270 riders took part, raising
By 2010, the Long Ride had
become the biggest event of its type
in the Southern Hemisphere. As it
regrouped at Coolalinga for the entry
into Darwin, there were more than
450 motorcycles lined up to ride into
"The Long Ride is designed to
encourage you to do something total-
ly different in your life," Chris said.
"It is about life on the road, meet-
ing new people and exploring yourself
as you do something you love to do."
Since 2007, the Long Ride has
raised more than $600,000.
This year's ride was from RAAF
Base Williamtown to Cairns on the
inland road via Singleton, enabling
ADF members from RAAF Base
Richmond and Singleton Army
Base to join in, which raised at least
$225,000 by 357 registered riders.
Chris urged men who are having
a tough time to seek help.
"Since I started the Long Ride, I
have a new outlook on life," he said.
"You must put your hand out and
say to somebody, 'I'm crook and I
need help'. There is no embarrass-
ment in getting help.
"I wish to personally thank
AIRMSHL Mark Binskin for his for-
ward thinking and for the support the
ADF gives with the time and effort
in raising funds for prostate cancer
"People in the military have got to
say, 'enough is enough, I need help',
before it gets out of hand. Whether
it's for migraines, blood pressure,
whatever it is, see a doctor and get
help, it could save your life."
For more information on the Long Ride
or to make a donation, visit http://www.
Very well Dunne
EXCLUDING some forms of skin can-
cer, the Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare has found prostate cancer is
the most common cancer diagnosed in
men in Australia, with more than 19,000
diagnoses each year. Tragically, more than
2900 Australian men die each year from
prostate cancer. However, if it is detected
early, prostate cancer is often treatable
and curable. This is why men aged 50 and
over -- or 40, if there is a family history of
the illness -- should not wait for symptoms
before talking to their doctor about prostate
cancer and getting a simple blood test.
For more information on prostate cancer diagnoses
go the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia at
MAN ON A MISSION: Chris Dunne sits on his preferred mode of transport
with a 3SQN F/A-18 Hornet in the background at RAAF Base Williamtown.
Photo: CPL David Gibbs
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