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Brisbane brothers complete epic journey in honour of their sister on World Mental Health Day

Two brothers from Brisbane have crossed the finish line, ending their 2.5-year round-the-world motorbike ride to raise money for depression research, on World Mental Health Day.

Dylan and Lawson Reid – also known as the Brothers Reid – lost their sister Heidi to suicide in September 2011 when she was 27 years old.

In March 2015, they embarked on a 938-day, round-the-world ride to raise awareness of mental health and to raise money for depression research at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. They have raised more than $72,000 so far.

“Our world was shattered when we lost Heidi. There was nothing but a bottomless pit of grief,” Dylan said.

“Even as ridiculously positive people, we couldn’t see any light. This ride is the one and only positive thing about Heidi’s loss.”

The brothers have travelled 100,000 kilometres and passed through six continents and 50 countries. Their journey has taken them through wild terrain and harsh climates and has seen them negotiating with mechanical problems and broken bones.

In Iran, they were detained for riding too close to a military base and also suffered early-onset frostbite. They ran into trouble in Indonesia after accidentally clipping a police officer’s motorbike, and in Peru they nearly lost one of their motorbikes at a flooded crossing.

“The mind and body are not designed to cope with that amount of time on a motorbike, but we were unstoppable because we had two things on our side: firstly, our commitment to QIMR Berghofer and therefore to our sister; and secondly, each other,” Lawson said.

“We think Heidi would be completely stoked about this trip, and, if anything, she would be filled with travel envy.”

The head of QIMR Berghofer’s Mental Health Research Program, Professor Michael Breakspear, said the money the brothers have raised would go a long way towards helping scientists to develop an imaging-based diagnostic test for depression.

“Despite the personal and social burden of Major Depressive Disorder, clinical diagnosis still rests entirely upon the opinion of individual doctors. Clinical diagnosis is often missed or late,” Professor Breakspear said.

“By developing a diagnostic test, we can help ensure that more people receive the right diagnosis and the correct treatment sooner.

“One of the biggest challenges for scientists is getting funding to do the research. I am tremendously grateful to Dylan, Lawson and their parents for supporting this crucial research.”

Dylan, 35, and Lawson, 32, are both engineers who self-funded the entire trip by doing fly-in-fly-out work in the Darling Downs, Cloncurry and the Northern Territory. This means 100 per cent of money raised will go directly to supporting QIMR Berghofer’s research.

“Ultimately we want to draw the broader community’s attention to the fundamental issue in mental health, which is we can’t treat people accurately because we can’t diagnose accurately,” Dylan said.

“And if we can’t get the diagnosis right, all the effort and resources invested into patients downstream are a waste.

“If the community becomes aware of the cutting-edge research being undertaken at QIMR Berghofer and shows its support, then we will have achieved what we set out to achieve.”