Today, 29 riders set off on a four-day charity bike ride that will cover 500km throughout regional and rural NSW.
The ‘Magic Ride’ is an inaugural event organised by Feel the Magic, a charity dedicated to helping grieving children cope with the death of a loved one.
The riders who have already raised over $45,000 are aiming to double this, enough to send 60 children to one of Feel the Magic’s signature programs ‘Camp Magic’. The camps are held across the country through the year, and help children aged 7-17 years to understand their grief. To date, Feel the Magic has supported over 1,000 children across 20 camps in regional and metro Australia.
Elena Dimcevska and son Marko, have experienced the incredible healing that can come from attending Camp Magic first-hand. Marko’s father, Jono passed away unexpectedly when Marko was just six years old. Elena says the Feel the Magic community changed their lives by supporting Marko through the grieving process.
“From the very first camp he attended, it opened him back up. He realised he wasn’t the only one going through it and there are other kids his age who understand. He’s now attended five camps, and he learns something new every time.
“Marko felt vulnerable and uncomfortable speaking with his peers about the passing of his father. But after the support provided at Camp Magic, Marko decided that he wanted to talk about his experience for show and tell with his class – which was a massive step! From there he ended up in a national speech competition, sharing his experience with Camp Magic and outlining the skills and strategies he’d learnt,” Elena says.
The Magic Ride
The ride kicks off in Cooma and weaves across the NSW Snowy Mountains for the next four days. On Sunday December 6th, the riders will make their final ride into the ACT Camp Magic closing ceremony where they will meet the kids ‘they have been riding for’.
Feel the Magic strives to take away the isolation associated with grief and loss and the organisation has experienced many breakthrough moments with their campers throughout the last seven years.
Co-founder of Feel the Magic, James Thomas, has experienced the pain of losing not one, but both parents before his 31st birthday and says the pain he felt after the passing of his mother was almost unbearable.
“When a child loses a parent or sibling, they become part of a club – but it’s a club that no one chooses to join and it’s not fun to be a part of. Unfortunately, there’s no timeline on grief – it’s with you forever,” James says.
Committed to measuring impact, Feel the Magic has reported campers experience a 12% increase in their ability to cope through challenging times.
“While the camps are certainly an inspiring and uplifting experience, it can also be intense and emotional for everyone involved. Many of our mentors have their own personal grief stories and have to put into practise the coping strategies we teach our kids when they’re feeling triggered,” James says.
Feel the Magic believes it only takes something very small to make a big difference and is encouraging Aussies to ‘donate their lunch money’ to support the Magic Ride and their programs supporting grieving children and families. As little as $10 can go a long way to helping a child recover after the death of a loved one.