Not far from my house, there’s a group of big swimming pools with nice sauna and gym facilities called “Ian Thorpe Aquatic Center”. Five times Gold Medal Olympic champion Ian Thorpe was only in his early twenties when the aquatic center was built and named in honor of him. It was great to meet him in person at a fundraising event.
I had the opportunity to photograph the Lifeline Australia annual fundraising lunch with Ian Thorpe as a special guest yesterday.
Lifeline is a non-profit organization that provides free, 24 hour telephone crisis support. Chairman of Lifeline Australia John Brogden says lifeline expects to receive one million calls in 2015 but the charity needs help meeting demand as some calls are currently going unanswered.
Thorpe donated part of his first $25,000 world – record bonus to Lifeline back in 1999 as he decided he “didn’t really want to swim for money.”
During the interview with Adam Spencer at the fundraiser, Ian Thorpe shared his personal struggle with depression and hope it will help other people who suffer from depression. He said that he hates depression and “it doesn’t seem to like me, so that’s our relationship.”
“You feel a little bit out of place, you feel a little bit uncomfortable, you feel a little bit down when you shouldn’t,” he described.
“It wasn’t until later in my life that I was actually able to say, ‘no, I actually struggle with depression’.
Ian Thorpe will help Lifeline launch a campaign next year to recruit more volunteers to answer calls from people who need help.
Find out here on how you can support Lifeline.
If there’s anyone who needs help but has to nobody to turn to, call 131114 Lifeline 24/7 support line.