Vicki Haines with her bike in Nelson Bay

Vicki Haines knows first-hand how important the Yacaaba Centre is to the community.

The service and its counsellors saved her life.

Now she is about to embark on a huge motorbike ride through 35 countries to raise money and awareness for the centre, after 44 per cent of its funding was cut.

She will start the ride in Singapore and travel through several countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Nepal, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and France.

She said raising money and awareness for the Yacaaba Centre is extremely close to her heart.

“A couple of years ago I had a huge loss in my life, I lost my father and then within three weeks I lost my mum,” she said.

“It was quite destructive to my health and my wellbeing, I suffered a lot of depression and I found that when the Yacaaba Centre called me, they gave me an opportunity to go in and get some free counselling, and I got mental health assistance, support and technical knowledge about how to deal with grief.”

Ms Haines said the Yacaaba Centre’s service is vitally important to residents of the Port Stephens peninsula, who when feeling down likely don’t have the energy to travel an hour to Newcastle for mental health support.

“I think my daughter or good friend must have called them and told them I was pretty bad, and they’d ring and ring, and check in on me and then eventually I got enough guts or confidence to go in there and speak to one of the counsellors,” she said.

“It just worked for me. We clicked and it saved my life.”

Ms Haines flies out of Australia on Tuesday, April 2 and hopes to end her journey at the Olympics in Paris. She will definitely be home by Christmas – on her family’s orders.

She will ride for about 200 to 300 kilometres per day or four to five hours and hopes to ride every day, weather permitting.

“It’s to raise money to keep the doors of Yacaaba open really, to celebrate and allow those people that work there to continue working there so when someone like me goes to ring them, someone picks up,” Vicki said.

“It’s such an important thing in a rural area like this, to be able to go somewhere to get assistance and not be judged, and not be ridiculed about the fact that it’s free counselling.

“So many people have gone through those doors and told me their story, that [the centre] has helped them in one small way or another, to keep them knowing that someone’s there for them.”

Yacaaba Centre manager Louise Simpson said “we are incredibly grateful for Vicki’s dedication and commitment to supporting the Yacaaba Centre.”

“Her journey will not only raise funds but also spark important conversations about grief and mental health awareness. We wish her safe travels and look forward to following her journey every step of the way,” she said.

To donate to Vicki’s fundraiser, visit

To keep up with Vicki, watch her videos at