My name is Shane Hafner. My friend Cameron and I have been police officers for over 20 years. During that time we have been exposed to incidents that have adversely affected our mental health resulting in a diagnosis of PTSD, thus impacting on our ability to do the job we have loved for so many years.
Cameron and I have both developed a love of lawn bowls throughout our road to recovery. To say this has had a positive impact on our mental health is an understatement. The friendly and welcoming environment of the bowls clubs and its members has been integral to our emotional and psychological wellbeing. Participating in the sport allows us to be outdoors, amongst friends and even if only for a short while, free our minds from thoughts associated with work related trauma incidents.
Cameron and I had a shared dream of raising awareness not only for mental wellness, but also the benefits of lawn bowls and thus ‘Bowl For Your Lives’ was born. ‘BFYL' aims to raise much needed funds for mental health research, at the same time educating the community about this amazing sport and the sense of belonging it inspires. We created our own Facebook page for 'BFYL' and this has assisted us in sharing mental health awareness and raise important funds for Black Dog Institute to continue their important work.
We have teamed up with The Black Dog Institute as our chosen recipient of the proceeds of our fundraising efforts, so far we have raised a tremendous $14,000 towards much needed mental health research.
We are currently arranging two awn bowls tournaments to raise further funds for Black Dog Institute, whilst promoting a sport that we love and want to strongly encourage others into as we believe it is a great outdoor sport with beneficial opportunities for those impacted by mental health.
I am a strong advocate of encouraging mental health awareness and during my time of being impacted by PTSD in 2011 and again in 2022, I have become a keen walker. This is due to the known fact that exercise of any level is hugely beneficial to those impacted by mental health.
That's why this year I have committed to walking 2023 kms in 2023. My aim is to encourage others that being active, to whatever level is able to be done by any individual does help.