In 2019, 12 brave women made history by successfully crossing Australia’s Simpson Desert on motorbikes in what has become an annual charity event in partnership with Dolly’s Dream to take a stand against childhood bullying and cyberbullying.
Next month, the All Women Simpson Desert Crossing (AWSDC) will again take to the red sands of the Australian outback, challenging their mental and physical strength across four gruelling days as part of Do It For Dolly Day on Friday 13 May.
Annual rider and group co-organiser Kimberley Killick said that Dolly’s Dream is the perfect charity for the LGBTIQ-friendly riding group to raise funds for, with many group members having experienced bullying themselves.
“We ride to show that women who support and lift each other up, instead of bully and put others down, are able to go further in life and get better outcomes… and we raise funds to make a real change for generations to come,” said Kimberley.
“We accept each other’s differences, and we support each other across one of the most brutal terrains in Australia. We ride as a team, we rally around each other and set the pace of the person who is struggling to set an example of inclusion and support.”
Aiming to contribute to the $80,000 that has been raised over the past three years through the Simpson Desert ride, the 12 women following the tracks of their pioneering fore-sisters will journey from Birdsville in Queensland to Mt Dare in South Australia, some riders with minimal sand-riding experience.
“Sand is an unusual surface to ride on. It can feel like water moving underneath the bike and it’s about allowing yourself to go with the sand, not fighting it but rather using the motorbike’s momentum.”
“You’ve got to be alert and oriented the entire time, and we can ride up to 120km in one day. It’s exhausting, it’s boiling hot and we’re standing up on the bike for 80 per cent of the ride.”
“Dolly’s message to ‘speak even if your voice shakes’ is so pertinent during this emotionally and physically demanding trip. I’m shown time and again during this ride that people don’t know what you’re going through unless you tell them. When you share your voice it means that the group can come around and support you to share the load of the journey.”
With the funds from Do It For Dolly Day going to a number of initiatives including a free mental health support line with trained counsellors, Dolly’s mother and charity co-founder Kate Everett said that contributions from the AWSDC ride safeguard future generations from the lifelong impacts that bullying has – both at childhood and well into adult life.
“These extraordinary women have had a huge impact on Dolly’s Dream. Their strength, determination and commitment to help us end bullying forever is awe-inspiring,” said Kate.
“All funds raised from Do It For Dolly Day go towards creating a kinder community by changing the behaviours around bullying. This includes supporting our online anti-bullying workshops for students, parents and teachers.”
With technology constantly evolving, and the landscape that children communicate and engage with changing alongside it, Kate said that it’s the attitudes and culture that the organisation is looking to shift.
“We work hard to continually update and develop vital bullying prevention and online safety programs to kids, families, schools and communities across Australia, ultimately with the goal to create a cultural change where kindness and compassion with each other is the new norm.”
If you would like to support these incredible women and help make a difference, visit the All Women Simpson Desert Crossing fundraising page.