Graphic: Bobbys Walk
There wasn’t a specific moment or set of circumstances that inspired Bobby Young to turn his life around. But when the 37-year-old weighed in at 186 kilos, and he thought about his family history of heart disease and his two young children, he simply decided it was time to make a change.
Recognising he could not do it alone, and with a diagnosis of high cholesterol and fatty liver, he took the advice of his general practitioner and turned to the Royal Flying Doctor Service which has free physical health care and mental health services based in his home town of Scottsdale.
RFDS Tasmania embeds rural health workers, physical health workers and mental health workers in rural communities.
This means that people don’t miss out on vital treatment for chronic disease and mental health challenges because they can’t, for whatever reason, travel to services in the city.
They support people living with mental health conditions, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and dementia and have many strategies to improve overall health and wellbeing through better eating and physical rehabilitation.
I was fourteen when my father died of a heart attack. I want to at least see my kids grow up. He never had that chance with all of us.- Bobby Young
RFDS Tasmania also works alongside other organisations to provide support and nutritional guidance for people living with diabetes
“I was fourteen when my father died of a heart attack,” Bobby said.
“I want to at least see my kids grow up. He never had that chance with all of us.
“And my mother’s mum died of a massive heart attack, so there’s risk on both sides.”
Since making the decision, Bobby has made huge strides in improving his health and wellbeing.
It is with generous donations from people like you that we can afford to move our workers into rural and remote areas and provide the facilities and equipment they need to work with clients in need like Bobby.
Through the RFDS Prime Mover program, Bobby has shed almost 60 kilos during the past 12 months and is well on his way to achieving his goal weight of 100 kilos.
To celebrate his health achievements, inspire others to take control of their health and to give something back to the service that he is convinced has saved his life, Bobby invited his whole community to walk with him from the top of Billycock Hill to the Scottsdale Recreation Ground on Sunday, March 20 to raise money for RFDS Tasmania.
The many small donations added up to an amazing $7000 that will greatly help cover capital costs associated with our primary health programs and I invite you to consider adding to this amazing fundraising effort knowing it could be life-changing for someone struggling with their health. It was a major milestone in a journey that began when Bobby met former RFDS physical health worker Scott Tomkins, who was instrumental in guiding and motivating Bobby along his health journey.
And while Bobby’s physical transformation is impressive, Scott said he also made huge inroads with his mental health, including a marked reduction in panic attacks.
“You think you’re dying, really,” Bobby says of the experience.
“In reality you’re not, but at the time, if you don’t know what’s going on, that’s what you’re thinking. It makes it hard to even go out of the house because you don’t know when it’s going to happen.
“Now, I do have some days where I’m probably down more than others, but it’s definitely a lot better.”
Can you help us reach more people with the kind of mental health care that comes to them when they are unable to venture away from home to seek support?
Scott says he’s immensely proud of what Bobby has achieved so far and wants him to continue carving out the next chapter of his life in a focused and sustainable way.
A chapter that Bobby hopes will involve pursuing his own studies in fitness and personal training, so he can help others work towards their own health goals.
It's an aspiration he says wouldn’t have been possible without the RFDS workers who live and work in his town and are there to provide support and keep him accountable.