‘It won’t rain on Sunday,’ I confidently predicted during our Zoom meeting on the Thursday night before the first ever Drive Against Depression Sydney Charity Drive Day. How wrong I was and as the rain fell on Sunday morning, I was more than once subtly reminded about my mistaken weather forecast.
But DJ, one of the members on the Drive Against Depression board is from Melbourne, so we were just making him feel at home with the dreary weather after his long drive up in his newly rebuilt Porsche. In spite of the conditions nothing was going to dampen the spirits of those who had come along to support the inaugural Drive Against Depression event in Sydney.
It was more than five years ago that I came across Drive Against Depression (DAD) and I connected immediately with their mission of normalising mental health conversations through a shared enthusiasm for motoring. Since then, DAD has been the official charity partner of Driven Women Magazine. After jumping through countless hoops of bureaucracy, DAD co-founder Sarah Davis contacted myself and Zak Adkins from Chasing Cars to finally make the Sydney Charity Drive Day happen, with DJ here to guide us.
Our fellow drivers arrived for the Sydney event in a cavalcade of impressive vehicles and it wasn’t long before a bonnet was up and the conversations were flowing. With the rain persisting we made the decision to get the drive underway and talk more once we reached our morning tea stop at Jerry’s Café in Kulnura.
When we arrived in Kulnura the rain had abated and everyone appreciated a warm beverage while we shared some of our mental health experiences. Zak told the group about his several severe hospitalisations, initially due to early psychosis caused by extensive stress and anxiety, which began back in March 2019. Zak also spoke openly about his bipolar diagnosis in December 2020, and a further diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder most recently in 2023. The feedback Zak received from the group was beautiful and it epitomised what the day was all about.
I shared my story of dealing with anxiety and how driving cars and even washing cars helps keep me happy and on an even keel. It’s also one of the reasons why I love doing what I do, driving a different car every week, photographing it and then writing about it.
At morning tea we also drew the door prize donated by Nicky from Empire Marina. Richard was the lucky winner of the half-day Freedom Boat Club experience. Their team will show Richard the ropes (literally) and give him the chance to drive one of their boats while soaking up the stunning sights and learning whilst out on the water.
Then it was back in our cars for the second half of the drive along the convict built Great North Road, through historic Wollombi and finishing at the Roche Estate in the Hunter Valley. The final formality before lunch was a group shot of all our wonderful participants next to their cars.
By then the rain had been forgotten about and new friendships had been made thanks to a mutual passion for cars. It was a complete pleasure to share Drive Against Depression’s first Sydney charity event with everyone who came along. Sincere thanks to you all for joining this cruise and making it all that it was. We hope that this is the first of many DAD Sydney Charity Drive events!
To stay up to date with everything DAD has on offer be sure to sign up to their newsletter here. DAD is building a Mental Wellness Network of partnered professionals. In the meantime, they offer a directory of support services for participants to utilise when they’re ready to continue their mental health conversation. Donations can be made directly to DAD via their website and all donations over $2 are tax deductible.
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.