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Bowls In Focus : October 2009
Bowls In Focus 7 Exciting community partnership announced “ Our clubs are very active within their own commu- nities and we span all of the age groups from children to 100-year-olds,” he said. “ We’re also a very inclusive sport in that people with disabilities, both physical and intellectual, regu- larly participate. Given that depression and anxiety can affect anyone in our society, we believe a partner- ship between our community clubs and beyondblue is a great way to get the message out.” Leonie Schulz, executive officer of the VLBA, added that she looked forward to working together with beyondblue and the RVBA for a great cause. “ C lubs are already very strong contributors in their local communities and they will welcome the op- portunity to participate in this very wor thwhile cause, to help raise awareness of depression and anxiety in their regions,” she said. “ We believe that we can be of assistance in an area that is a major health concern across Victoria and Australia. “ We are particularly for tunate in being in the posi- tion to reach many of our members in r ural areas. We look forward to a most successful community partnership.” A major promotion in the for m of a ‘Blue Pennant Round’ in November - when clubs across Victoria will be flushed with shades of blue and hold awareness raising events - will be a highlight of the partnership. It is anticipated that this enterprise will draw significant publicity and promotion of both beyondblue’s depres- sion initiative and of the great sport of bowls. A component of the partnership will see all 530 Victorian bowls clubs receiving beyondblue materials. beyondblue will also provide depression awareness training sessions to RVBA and VLBA staff, coaches, umpires and selected players. Initially, the idea of a beyondblue and bowls partnership arose out of a successful depression awareness project ‘BROTO’ (Bowlers Reaching Out To Others) organised by the Wangaratta Bowls Club in late 2008. The club arranged for Commonwealth Games gold medallists Bill Cornehls and Joyce Lindores to partici- pate in the inaugural ‘beyondblue Bowls Cup’, where the two champions partnered prominent local juniors in an exciting fours tournament. Following the success of the Wangaratta initiative, discussions with the gover ning bodies began in early 2009 to see if they would take on a leadership role for a state-wide rollout of a bowls depression-awareness program. For more infor mation on depression, anxiety and related mental health disorders, visit the website; www.beyondblue.org.au or call the infor mation line on 1300 22 4636 (local call). • The catalyst: Commonwealth Games gold medal- lists Bill Cornehls and Joyce Lindores with local youngsters at Wangaratta’s BROTO tournament. Schraner accepts ambassador role The prospect of speaking at a packed formal function and following a seasoned orator like Jeff Kennett, a former state premier and current Hawthorn Football Club president, who appeared in his role as chair man of beyondblue, would make most people squir m. However, after a few ner vous moments, reigning RVBA Champion of Champions Lee Schraner, who was addressing the recent RVBA annual general meeting, took it all in his stride. Speaking from the heart and from his own ver y personal journey through an onset of depression some six years ago, the 27-year-old Victorian and Australian representative, who recently won the Queensland Open Triples gold medal and was runner-up to the great Steve Glasson in the Coca-Cola Golden Nugget, briefly related his story. At the peak of health, playing with the strong Bundoora Club, holding a secure, well-paid job, and ‘on top of the world’, Lee spoke of the impact on his life by an affliction that would later be diagnosed as depression and anxiety disorder. Physically he lost 30kgs in weight and became almost incapacitated. It was his Bundoora teammates and close friends who helped him to overcome the shock and severity of the illness. Encouraged by them he sought professional help, and subsequently with his passion for bowls and life, his illness is well managed and controlled today. Having such personal experience, he is deter mined to help break the stigma attached to depression and anxiety; and help the community to recognise them as genuine illnesses that need professional treatment. Lee accepted the invitation from RVBA executive officer Peter Hanlon, to be an ‘ambassador’ for the beyondblue and Victorian bowls par tnership, saying: “ W hatever it takes to help spread the word that this is a serious illness needing to be understood - I’m there with pride.” • New partnership ambassador Lee Schraner narrates his personal experiences.
August September 2009