NATCON 2016 & Team Ripple Aus – Thank you

It always takes me a little back braining before i sit and write. So for all those out there who read my posts, thank you for your patience.

How do i explain the experience that we just took part in. How do i condense the team of Australian Ambassadors who just came together in their quest to change peoples lives… and how do i express my thanks and overwhelming gratitude to our friends Margaret and Kevin Hines for making it all possible.

Let me start here. I chose the life i am living, I was a failed school kid who brought home reports so bad every year that even the dog wouldn’t eat them. (One day you will all hear my annual school report stories). I realised that i was never meant to fit into a system, so i decided to follow my heart and listen to my gut and live my life following those two emotions.

I now realise i was right as my life has been filled with more experience than most will live in three lifetimes. It allowed me to be different and it showed me that it was okay to be that way, to not follow the system, to chase a dream, pushing the bounds of the potentials of which i was born.

Life is a journey of joy and sorrow, but it has been in the sorrow we seem to once again find our paths and it was through my life changing path that i discovered the people who i now call my friends.

Something i have learned through meeting people who have returned from the edge of life is a pure honesty, like the thousand yard stare of war, we know how it feels, we know how easily it can take you, and we know the pathway back… and this is the openness and honesty i found in all i have become friends with in recent times. They aren’t fair weather friends (supposed friends who are there when times are good, but disappear when things go bad) they are true friends who have trodden through the darkness and once again found the light. They are the members of Team Ripple Aus, they are Kevin and Margaret Hines, they are all the wonderful people we met at Natcon 16.

In my life i hold certain people close to my heart, only a very limited few are allowed to cross this boundary of my inner circle. I keep it firmly guarded for those i know would be there for me as i would be for them, and I’m about to mention some people who are now on the inner circle.

Kevin & Margaret Hines, who would have ever known the day we met in March last year at our National Mental health Convention what would become of that simple hug and a handshake. When John Brady said to me before the conference “You and a guy called Kevin Hines need to meet because if you do, something magical will happen.” I’d only just finished speaking, walked off stage, then i looked up and you were there. I looked in your eyes mate and i knew there was something special about you and when i met Margaret & saw how much you cared for each other and what a team you were i knew in my heart we would become friends.

In my life know If it wasn’t for my wife and what she means to me, and for the lives of my children, i wouldn’t still be here. I think back to my Grandmother who flew with a man  back in 1921 called Hudson Fysh and helped him buy his second plane. I thought had it not been for people like her, taking a chance and pushing boundaries, then we would have never met. Im forever in her debt for helping the quest of air travel, which brought us together and made us friends.

Now to Team Ripple Aus

To Sam & Casey. A pair of knock about larrikins with hearts of gold. You guys are just the ball of energy needed to help change the world. LIVIN “It aint weak to speak” is pretty much our mantra in Team Ripple. If we can take that message to the world through our stories and encourage people in trouble to speak we will save many lives. You are awesome young blokes and I’m proud to know you and call you mates… all the way to the top!

To Lauren you are a real gem. Your smile lights up the room and your message of hope is clear. I have found in recent times that the perspective of someone who was left behind has the ability to have a powerful and life changing message. Having gotten to know you i realise your voice and your words are filled with a wisdom of someone far beyond your years. Thank you for being you and for being a friend.

To Joe, Mate you are a true champion, not just of your people, but  to all people. Your battles, your victories and your losses have all helped shape the man you now are. I found in you an honesty and a man i can call my friend. There are so many similarities in our lives that i feel drawn to you. If anyone can help our youth and indigenous people find a voice it is you my brother. One thing that has become clear to me is that the bond of friendship has no race or colour, we are one people, one voice and one world. Keep doing all that you do, as you are making a real difference… and until the quest of our nation is settled, i will be proud to help you hold your peoples flag high.

To Patty, you mate are awesome. Raw, emotional and true. You embody the Aussie battler and the man who found a voice when you felt that your voice was gone. I luckily got to spend a great deal of time with you while we were away and all i can say mate is you speak from your heart and you have an ability to find the positive in every situation. I had a great time with you Pat and our team would be incomplete without your voice… its time for the world heard your words. You have a lot to say & many lives to change.

Greg Dee, Lacey & Gracey… so wonderful getting to know you all. Greg you are one awesome dude and the work you do is priceless… but we all have someone who is there for us and you my friend have Lacey & Gracey, What a beautiful family. Im so appreciative i have gotten to know you, your family and come to know the work you do. You are a legend mate and the world needs you. So keep the path my friend, keep the path.

To all the many wonderful colleagues and new American friends we have made. Each with their own tragic and yet inspiring stories of hope and life. So much to learn, so much to teach and you all have earned so much respect from me.

I was privileged to hear some peoples personal journeys, a few of them, and you know who you are hadn’t revealed them to many before. For me to be there as a person of trust when you opened your inner world to me was something i can never repay. It is like witnessing the birth of a new life and the rebirth of your own. Thank you from the depths of my heart for your strength and courage, if i were ever to feel blessed, those moments were the times i knew my life, my voice and my journey is the right one.

To all the many friends i have lost on the way, i now write with tears in my eyes for you, but I find the strength through my trembling fingers to honour you, with your lives cut short by a world you couldn’t survive, to my family who nearly lost me through my pain of depression and sorrow, i stand tall and open my heart to the world for you. To my mother who lost her wonderful sister to suicide it tore apart our world, and to my dear friend Serge, a man who the world needed, but he felt didn’t, i love you my brother, you, your journey and the pain i now feel from your loss.

To be there alongside you as a mate when all your supposed friends were not, to feel your pain, to walk beside you when you recovered from your attempted suicide, holding your arm to keep you walking, and fighting for you after you lost your life, you were never gone. Always rest soundly mate knowing that i speak for you, I speak for you all. Every day i think of you, everyday i fight for you and I promise to change the word for you.

To my wife and family. I have no words. it would be impossible to tell you how much you mean to me. We are one spirit.

Team Ripple Aus, you have all become a family to me, now its our quest to change this world together. Until we meet again. Big Aussie hugs GVB



  1. David Norton said:

    Its been a long road for you mate only a few know how long. You deserve all the happiness that you have been striving for in bucket loads. I am going to be finally taking that journey as you know and your support will be and always is appreciated.
    All the best Dave

    March 13, 2016
  2. Lee-Ann Evans said:

    I have only just heard of this organisation, it must be so nice to have friends, to know others who. Have similar life experiences. Me, I have no one. My friends abandoned me when I told them about my depression, anxiety, ptsd and bpd. Nome of my family want to talk about my mental health issues, my own mother had told me she couldn’t accept that I have mental illness
    The only support I get is from fb friends overseas and I feel that some of them are abandoning me too. I also have a psychiatrist that I see, she’s good but she can’t hug me
    I don’t know why but nobody really hugs me and I can’t stand being hugged by either of my parents. And I find it difficult to hug my kids. It must be me and something inhibiting me from expressing my emotions. I just feel so jealous of you guys, that you have made great friends and have been able to share similar stories
    It would be nice to have friendships like that. Don’t even suggest the local community organisation Mind because that’s where I worked as a mental health worker
    Ironic isn’t it. I can’t access this organisation because they are still legally my employer, I’m on workcover. So, there’s nowhere for me to go
    Won’t even be case managed by local mental health services as I have a private psychiatrist! I give up. Doesn’t help that I have narcolepsy and obstructive airways disease or that I am waiting to have an iron infusion. Life sucks and I thought this year was going to be better. I hate me, I am worthless, hopeless amd a nuisance to my family. They pity me. God how I hate that
    Enough said

    March 13, 2016
    • blog said:

      Hi Lee-Ann, thank you for your honesty. i just want to take a moment to say this. I don’t know you, and i don’t pity you, but i understand you and the isolation you feel. Deep in your heart you know you aren’t worthless, and i guarantee you’re far from hopeless. I agree that yes we can all lose hope, lord knows i did and it nearly took my life. But through our adversities this group found each other and decided to help others. You are welcome to keep in contact with us, but if life is getting hard and tiring, please speak to Lifeline 13 11 14 as they are a great help. Otherwise if you are feeling low you are always welcome to drop me, or any of us in our team, a line to chat. Im not a psychologist, I’m just a guy who has been and seen a lot and decided to try to help. What area do you live? Is there something we can do to help? Please let me know, and don’t lose hope, by your words you’re obviously a caring person, and people do care for you, i don’t even know you and want to give you a hug, no pity, just to let you know that people can care. Stay in touch, and if you really need help please promise me you’ll call lifeline. G

      March 14, 2016

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