Stairs are the new black for mental health fundraising

24 Nov 2016

Established in Sydney in 2015, the Macquarie Mad Dash stair run has caught the imagination of Macquarie staff and the event this year spread its wings with a Mad Dash also held in Macquarie’s London offices.

In Sydney, the 2016 Mad Dash raised more than $A125,000 including Foundation matching for Black Puppy Foundation, an Australian charity established by Macquarie employee Liam Donohue in support of youth mental health research.

With 1 in 3 Australian youth affected by mental health issues before the age of 25, the Macquarie Mad Dash has three purposes according to Donohue.

“Firstly, we’re aiming to raise funds for the Black Puppy Foundation. Secondly, we’re hoping that by talking about mental health we can remove the stigma in that area, and thirdly it’s a social event that staff can get involved in.”

At this year’s Mad Dash Final in Sydney in September, spectators lined the atrium on every level of 50 Martin Place for an inside look at the race, with five cameras positioned on the building’s internal staircase capturing real-time vision of the entire run for each of the 10 business teams.

One male and one female from each of the teams competed for the title of Mad Dash Champion and, for the second consecutive year, Macquarie Securities Group won both the fastest run time and the overall champion.

Not to be outdone by their antipodean colleagues, London staff arranged their own Dash using the stairs at Macquarie’s Ropemaker St offices. It came three weeks after the 2016 Sydney event, and raised more than £9,000 including Macquarie Group Foundation matching for the Black Puppy Foundation.

Seventy runners took part in the final race, with Tomas Hozik, from Macquarie Asset Management being the overall fastest on the day (fastest woman, fastest men’s, women’s and mixed relays, and fastest director categories ensured that several people had a chance to shine).

Proceeds from both events go towards a postdoctoral youth mental health researcher aligned to Australian mental health research organisation The Black Dog Institute. This year’s fellowship recipient is Dr Kit Huckvale, who will explore how mobile apps can help manage depression in young people.

The inaugural 2015 Mad Dash in Sydney raised more than $A150,000 into youth mental health which, together with other fundraising initiatives, has seen approximately $A300,000 be donated to Black Puppy over the last three years.

Image caption: From left, Black Puppy founder and Macquarie employee Liam Donohue at Sydney’s 50 Martin Place Mad Dash event, Black Dog Institute ambassador Geoff Huegill with the winning runners and Macquarie colleague and emcee Jonathon Ong.