Rid­ing the roads to save teen lives

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Launa-Anne Smith knows all too well the dev­as­ta­tion of los­ing a loved one to sui­cide, and is us­ing her ex­pe­ri­ences to help pre­vent other fam­i­lies go­ing through it.

Ms Smith lost her 18- year- old son LaniKo­hu­rangi Gore to sui­cide in Au­gust 2010.

‘‘The griev­ing process did hit us hard, you have all th­ese ques­tions that will re­main unan­swered. I lost my pas­sion for rid­ing my mo­tor­cy­cle – a pas­sion I had held since I was a teen. My grief really took its toll.’’

Af­ter two years of soul search­ing Ms Smith has di­rected her en­ergy into sui­cide preven­tion.

‘‘ I have re­cently joined the South Waikato Stop Youth Sui­cide team and mix­ing that in with my joy of rid­ing and be­ing of some use, hav­ing had this hap­pen to our fam­ily.’’

Ms Smith is join­ing the Su­per Maori Ful­las in their Green Rib­bon Ride.

The event is called rid­ers against teenage sui­cide with the motto: It’s not OK to go that way.

The ride be­gins

in Whangarei this Satur­day and will visit com­mu­ni­ties that have been hit hard by sui­cides which in­clude the far north, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

‘‘Through this chan­nel I have been able to reignite my pas­sion for mo­tor­cy­cle rid­ing,’’ Ms Smith said. ‘‘I have been fundrais­ing to at­tend the event in Whangarei. I would like to ex­press my grat­i­tude for the sup­port al­ready shown by the Toko­roa com­mu­nity.’’

Ms Smith said do­na­tions can also be made to the lo­cal South Waikato Stop Youth Sui­cide Group.

For in­for­ma­tion on mak­ing a do­na­tion go the group’s Face­book page. Last week South Waikato News ran an item in its ar­chives sec­tion that un­for­tu­nately co­in­cided with the loss of a mem­ber of the Toko­roa com­mu­nity. South Waikato News apol­o­gises to the Machen fam­ily. South Waikato SPCA is or­gan­is­ing its an­nual Adopta-thon and Valen­tines Day raf­fle which will be held on Fe­bru­ary 16 and 17. The event will be­gin at 11am and fin­ish about 3.30pm. Con­tact Lorna Hutchin­son on 07 886 7722. from all over New Zealand com­pete for the ti­tle. Coun­ties Red won the B-grade sec­tion, Pu­taru­ruTi­rau 4 topped the C-grade and Pouto Fight­ers won the D-grade. A spate of van­dal­ism has seen trees on the Bent St berm in Pu­taruru dam­aged again. South Waikato District Coun­cil said sev­eral of the trees needed to be re­placed and it was look­ing at whether that was worth­while. A num­ber of the new trees along Marchant St in Pu­taruru also had their tops snapped off. Toko­roa Po­lice thank peo­ple for help ap­pre­hend­ing two peo­ple wanted for ar­rest last week. In re­sponse to the ar­ti­cle the per­son sought was ar­rested and ap­peared in Ro­torua District Court. An armed rob­bery at Aotea Mo­bil on Satur­day was foiled by fam­ily mem­bers of the sole at­ten­dant at the petrol sta­tion. The peo­ple in­volved were in­stru­men­tal in guid­ing po­lice to ap­pre­hend and ar­rest the of­fender. As a re­sult a weapon and an amount of money was re­cov­ered, and a 27-year-old man ap­peared in the Toko­roa District Court on Mon­day charged with ag­gra­vated rob­bery and was re­manded in cus­tody. This comes a day af­ter the bur­glary at Aotea Dairy on Fri­day night where mainly cigarettes were stolen Po­lice are ask­ing for in­for­ma­tion and are fol­low­ing good lines of in­quiry.

RIDE FOR LIFE: Mother of three Launa-Anne Smith is rid­ing her mo­tor­cy­cle to in­crease aware­ness of sui­cide preven­tion.

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