Brocade, AWS chiefs cycling from Adelaide to Darwin

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Brocade, AWS chiefs cycling from Adelaide to Darwin
Celebrity trainer Michelle Bridges

Brocade Australia's managing director and two Australian executives from Amazon Web Services are once again dusting off their bicycles to ride 3,563km in eight days from Adelaide to Darwin.

The third edition of TourXOz, organised by Brocade boss Gary Denman, AWS education lead Neil Jackson and AWS channels and alliances head Stefan Jansen, will be held in October on World Mental Health Week.

The 2015 ride will again benefit the mental health organisation Black Dog Institute.

A sold-out fundraising dinner featuring celebrity trainer Michelle Bridges and SBS's Tour de France journalist Mike Tomalaris was held in Sydney last night, raising $47,000 for the ride to bring the total amount to over $250,000.

Bridges, as an ambassador for the Black Dog Institute, spoke of her journey from humble beginnings in Newcastle and reminded the attendees that everyone will be touched directly or indirectly by mental health issues as some time in their lives.

Tomalaris, who recently won a Journalism Award from Tour de France for 20 years of coverage, hosted the proceedings and surprised the crowd with a declaration that he would join the TourXOz himself.

Before last night's event at Doltone House, a team of 63 men and women had committed to cycling the gruelling course in October. The pack has now grown larger with Tomalaris and at least one other dinner attendee inspired to join.

"In 2013, we raised $186,000, nearly $70,000 more than our original target which placed our team in the history books of the Black Dog Institute as its largest ever community fundraiser," said Denman, who co-founded TourXOz in 2010 with Jackson.

"This year, we're visiting a number of indigenous, rural and regional communities to talk openly about a condition that affects many Australians, particularly in aboriginal communities where suicide rates are amongst the highest in the world."

The TourXOz group has stated this time it is aiming to raise $300,000. Please click here if you can contribute towards the final $50,000.

"Depression is an illness just like diabetes and cancer, and it can be tackled and managed with the right support," said Black Dog Institute executive director Helen Christensen.

"By spreading this message across the continent and raising vital funds for Black Dog Institute research and education, the ride will have a huge impact on the lives of people touched by mental illness."

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