Bellingen friends’ run channels grief into a force for good

Eden Buckingham, Max Sandstrom and Jack Mitchell in 2016 at Bellingen High School.

TURNING a tragic loss into a catalyst for positive change, 24-year-olds Jack Mitchell and Max Sandstrom have created a long-distance run in memory of their dear friend Eden Buckingham, who took his own life in 2022.

The three had been friends at Bellingen High School.

In the wake of this heart-wrenching event, Jack and Max embarked on a journey that has transformed from a personal endeavour into a burgeoning community movement with the potential to change lives.

On September 25, 2023, the pair will set off running from Newcastle, NSW to the Gold Coast, QLD, spanning 14 days.

Currently working on the route, Nambucca, Urunga and Coffs Harbour are the only towns they have locked in so far to engage with the local community.

NOTA will catch up with the guys again once they have detailed plans for publication.

“Our goal is not only to honour the memory of Eden but also to raise vital funds for mental health support and awareness,” Max and Jack told News Of The Area.

The impact of Eden’s passing has inspired them to channel their grief into a force for good, highlighting the importance of addressing mental health struggles and fostering a sense of community.

What initially started as a simple idea has blossomed into a dynamic initiative that is gaining momentum each day.

Their efforts are fuelled by the understanding that a catastrophe like Eden’s passing can lead to positive change, and they are committed to making a difference in the lives of others who are facing similar challenges.

“While we are the faces, and the feet, of this run, there is an entire network of like-minded individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our campaign’s success.

“The outpouring of support we have received is a testament to the impact Eden had on those around him and the urgent need for increased mental health awareness and support,” they said.

In tandem with promoting awareness, they are raising funds for Beyond Blue, a charity dedicated to helping individuals struggling with mental health issues.

They have set an ambitious goal of raising $20,000, a substantial increase from their initial target of $10,000, thanks to the overwhelming support they have already received.

As part of their initiative, Jack and Max are planning to release merchandise, with all proceeds directly benefiting Beyond Blue.

They are also committed to documenting their training journey and the run itself, aiming to engage supporters and donors by sharing personal reflections on the impact of depression, isolation and substance abuse.

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Fundraising Link –


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