By Nick Creely
What started out as a bit of cheeky banter between two great mates in isolation over a few ‘lemonades’ has turned into something much more meaningful.
For great mates Mitch Forsyth and Cody Miller – who met while playing Premier Cricket for Dandenong – they’re doing their bit to raise some much needed funds for Beyond Blue, and hopefully create a few laughs along the way with their unique way of bringing to light the issues around mental health, and to bring some happiness to those who may be struggling.
On Friday night, the two mates, who originally came from the Springvale South and Kooweerup cricket clubs respectively, bravely dyed their hair blonde as family and friends rallied around them online to donate to the cause.
The idea arose while bored and in isolation some weeks ago, and initially was treated as a bit of a joke between the two – a bit of banter that at the time wasn’t going to go anywhere.
Until it wasn’t.
“It was over Easter – we were texting each other, had a few lemonades and we thought it’d be fun to dye our hair for a bit of a laugh, half serious about what it’d look like,” Mitch told Star News Group.
“We didn’t quite have the mental capacity to go through with it, and a couple of weeks after that, we started to think about raising a bit of money out of it.
“The goal initially was about $500 and then we got there very quickly, and then a few of our mates were like ‘we’ll chip in if you want to do it’, so they could take the piss out of us a bit and raise some important money at the same time.
“And we’ve slowly incremented it which is great.”
The pair have blown their initial goal out of the water. As of Saturday morning, $2140 was raised for Beyond Blue on their GoFundMe page, funds that will go directly to addressing issues such as depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other mental health issues.
For Mitch and Cody, the importance of friendship in these unprecedented times has been so incredibly important for the pair – and that can come from a simple text message or phone call.
It can make someone’s day and open up some dialogue.
“We became good friends through playing at Dandenong, I’ve been there the last two years and he’s been there four or five,” Mitch explained.
“But Cody and I bonded a bit between ourselves by asking a few more deeper questions.
“I wasn’t actually that close with him in my first season there (at Dandenong), and in my second season one of us was having a bit of a bad time and one of us just reached out.
“They say it’s not very common for men to open the dialogue, but getting rid of that stigma around mental health and talking about it more will be better for everyone.
“In these times as well, so many people are doing it really tough – it’s not hard to check up on your family and your friends.
“It could be the loud one, it could be the quiet one, just make sure everyone is alright – it’s a very stressful time for people with work or not being able to work.
“It’s not hard to ask if someone is okay – it’s a simple thing you can do to open up some dialogue and make some friends as a result.”
With no turning back now after a complete transformation, Mitch said he expected there to be quite a lot of laughs, questions and ribbing – but believes it’s all worth it for an incredibly worthwhile cause.
“We want to raise money, but mates and family are definitely going to take the piss out of us,” Mitch said with a chuckle.
“Providing a bit of happiness and laughs throughout the day is an easy thing to do for us, and hopefully it can make someone’s day.
“We knew it wouldn’t turn out too well, but at the back of our minds it could have a bit of Matt Guelfi (Essendon player) about it, he pulled it off very well.
“Reality will set in I’m sure, we’ll probably end up chicken blonde and not looking too flash.”
There is still time to donate to Mitch and Cody’s cause, and those who wish to can visit gofundme.com/f/couple-of-lads-peroxiding-for-a-good-cause.
But even in these times, where people are doing it tough financially, Mitch said that everyone can do their bit to help each other through.
“We understand financially things can be tough, and some might be strapped for cash and can’t donate,” he said.
“So we’re asking everyone to at least make the effort to check up on each other and stay kind.”
For more information on Beyond Blue, head to beyondblue.org.au
Anyone needing help can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.