Harley Owners Group rev up to support mental health

A group of motorcycle enthusiasts have channelled their passion for riding into supporting the mental health of children and young people at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).

Most people’s first thoughts when they see a group of motorcycle riders in leather is that they must be ‘bikies’. The Harley Owners Group (HOG) Northern Melbourne Chapter want to change that intimidating perception and give back to others.

Operating for 29 years, the family-oriented club is passionate about owning and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles while socialising with like-minded people.

Leading the charge to support the RCH was Director of the HOG Northern Melbourne Chapter, Mark Perini and Assistant Director, Kathleen Tatnell.

“Our group is all about being social and sharing our love for Harleys. We organise meet ups, rides and holidays together. Over the years we’ve had several charity partnerships,” said Kathleen.

The HOG members voted to support the RCH Foundation as a way of helping sick children and their families in need.

“I have three children who have no health issues, and my wife works at a special needs school. We are all very grateful for our situation and feel for others who are doing it tough,” said Mark.

To fundraise, the HOG organised a raffle where tickets were sold for a chance to win a brand-new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and other prizes. The pandemic slowed down their ticket selling in 2020, but the group persevered once COVID-19 restrictions eased with a weekly barbeque at their affiliated Harley-Davidson dealership, Morgan and Wacker in Epping.

Through the sale of 350 tickets, $5,000 was raised to sponsor a bed in Banksia Ward which treats young people for a range of mental and psychological disorders. With this support, the Banksia Ward can continue to provide young people with the best care and resources available, offering treatment within a trauma informed and recovery focused framework.

Coinciding with Morgan and Wacker’s demo day, the HOG held their raffle draw in front of hundreds of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts.

“We were very appreciative of the RCH Foundation’s support and guidance with setting up our fundraiser. We hope to do more fundraising and encourage others to get involved,” said Mark.