By Natalee Kerr
Geelong’s Max Steinfort was one of 12 local students who recently rode across the Nullarbor – raising more than $50,000 for mental illness. The 24-year-old talks to Natalee Kerr.
What is your connection to Geelong?
I was born and raised in Geelong. I lived at home with mum, dad and my three older siblings. I moved away after school for four years to complete my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne. Following the completion of my BSc I moved back to Geelong. I commenced my postgraduate medical degree at Deakin University in 2018.
What was it like growing up here?
I loved growing up in Geelong. As a kid, I enjoyed playing local footy, watching the Cats down at ‘Skilled Stadium’ and participating in junior nippers down in Anglesea.
What are you passionate about?
I’m very passionate about my current medical studies. I’m passionate about making the Geelong community as healthy as it can be, and I will hopefully soon possess some of the skills to help make a difference. I’m also very passionate about the Cats winning another flag – sooner rather than later!
Tell us about your charity ride to raise awareness for mental health?
Mental health has always been a significant issue within the community. Until I commenced my studies at university, I was somewhat oblivious to the burden that mental illness places on the health system and community as a whole. I hoped that through taking part in the ride, it would draw attention to, and somewhat normalise the topic amongst young people. Many of the riders who joined me had touching and often tragic stories of how mental health has impacted themselves, their friends and their loved ones. These stories provided a heap of the motivation I needed to get across the Nullarbor when the going was tough.
What was the best and most challenging thing about the ride?
The best thing about the ride was how the group worked together. Constant challenges were thrown our way, however, the group managed to stay extremely positive throughout the whole journey. The most challenging part for me was actually finishing the ride. For over two weeks it was go-go-go, then all of a sudden, we were done. It took a little while to unwind.
What do you like most about the Geelong community?
I like how Geelong still has a smaller community feel to it, although it’s a big city. Often in Melbourne it’s easy to get lost amongst the masses, but I don’t feel like that in Geelong.
What do you think the Geelong community can do better?
Getting into cycling made me realise that it can be difficult to get around in Geelong without a car. There has been a lot of progress made recently with bike paths and cyclist awareness signs, however, I think we can still do a lot more to make Geelong a safe place to ride.