Kayaking Lake Wakatipu - Brooke

In 2019, I was diagnosed with major depression and social anxiety. It was finally an answer to why my life was so hard to live. Although it wasn’t something I wanted to hear, it was an answer so I could now find ways to help me improve.

Through my recovery I was in and out of psych wards and forever having to take medication. However, I was lucky enough to find passion for the world of mental health. I decided to complete a challenge that was physically and mentally demanding. This is because it’s reciprocated what life was like living with a mental illness. So I came up the idea to kayak Lake Wakatipu - 80KM in length and for someone who had never kayaked before, it was quite the mission. However I was determined to raise awareness and funds for mental health. I spent at least 4 days in the gym and would get out on the water for practice and confidence. Finally, the big day came. With Chris from kayak HQ lending me the kayak and Peter Excell providing his assistance and the support boat I set off at 4:50am. The weather was perfect and it all started well. About halfway through things started to get very tough. I had to remind myself of the WHY behind my challenge which slowly got me through it. 12 hours and 5 minutes later, I paddled up to the finish line, exhausted but smiling. It was an amazing feat and I proved to myself that I can do anything and I was so happy with the awareness and funds raised.

I will forever be grateful for everyone who has supported me and I hope to continue to advocate and raise awareness for mental health!

- Brooke Hart