Mo Sister Serena sits under a fig tree with her partner and brothers.
Mo Sister Serena is proud to push-up for Movember with her team.Image by: Paul Suesse
Mo Sister Serena sits under a fig tree with her partner and brothers.
Mo Sister Serena and her team push-up by the water in Sydney harbour.
Mo Sister Serena smiles with team mates by the water in Sydney harbour.
1 June 2023

Embracing the Push-Up Challenge: Serena’s journey of hope and connection

5 minutes read time

Last year, I had the privilege of leading my team, Hope Floats. Be Here Tomorrow. - through The Push-Up Challenge. Together, we stood in solidarity with Movember, supporting their crucial work on men's health issues. Throughout the 24-day challenge, we engaged in meaningful conversations and accomplished an impressive total of 32,314 push-ups, all while raising an incredible $7,789.

Reflecting on personal loss

As I embark on my second year of participating, I can't help but reflect on the incredible journey it has been. Our team is an eclectic mix of friends, family, and open-hearted individuals. Little did I know that this challenge would become a catalyst for profound personal growth and a testament to the power of community. I enjoy extending a heartfelt invitation to anyone open to joining our team, using the opportunity to emphasise the importance of connection and raising awareness about suicide risk.

Sadly, 2020 was a year marked by personal tragedy as I lost a dear friend to suicide and then shortly after, I also lost my father. These devastating losses ignited a profound sense of purpose within me, and I found solace and meaning in working within my community's mental health sphere.

The intersection of mental and physical health

As a Lived Experience Learning and Development Officer, I facilitate training programs and create safe spaces for individuals to share their stories and experiences. It is a humbling and magical experience to witness the power of human connection and witness the resilience and strength within each person's journey.

For me, participating in the Movember Push-Up Challenge is not just about physical fitness; it is about bringing together a community that deeply cares and wants to make a difference. Mental and physical health are intricately intertwined, and this challenge provides an opportunity to emphasize their interconnectedness.

Nurturing well-being through exercise

Through the Push-Up Challenge, Movember has continuously adapted and improved, offering valuable resources and nuggets of knowledge that promote physical activity and mental health awareness. It's essential to debunk the notion that physical health is separate from mental health. They are inseparable, and nurturing both is vital for overall well-being.

Personally, exercise became an integral part of my life following a spinal injury. It taught me the value of motion and maintaining physical health to support my mental well-being. The positive effects of exercise on my mood and performance became evident, and I realised the importance of sharing this experience with others.

Making physical activity accessible

The Push-Up Challenge allows individuals to dip their toes into physical activity in a fun and accessible way. Fun breeds fun, and the challenge's ability to engage people from all walks of life, whether through the app, families, or workplaces, is truly remarkable.

Why I push-up with Movember

When it comes to choosing Movember as my platform for the Push-Up Challenge, it stems from a deep personal connection. My father, who was my best friend, was part of a grassroots community-led initiative called The Men's Table. Their work revolves around creating safe spaces for men to gather, connect, and support each other. Witnessing the positive impact of such initiatives inspired me to explore the barriers men face in terms of their health and well-being.

Collaborating with Movember was a natural choice when they joined forces with the Push-Up Challenge. It provided an opportunity to align my personal journey with their commitment to addressing men's health issues and fostering creativity and innovation in finding solutions.

Addressing disconnection and fostering community

In a world where disconnection and isolation are prevalent, Movember's focus on community, care, and education is more critical than ever. We are not isolated individuals; we exist within an interconnected ecosystem of relationships, families, and communities. By building tools, nurturing communities of care, and encouraging self-care, we can bridge the gap and create sustainable change.

Taking agency in self-care

I have learned that taking good care of oneself requires personal agency and a commitment to explore what works best for each individual. It's not about outsourcing our well-being but embracing the responsibility to understand our own needs and seek out the tools that support our mental and physical health. This journey of self-discovery and self-care has been transformational for me, and I encourage everyone to embark on their own unique path.

Transforming lives through the power of a push-up

Raising funds for Movember by participating in the Push-Up Challenge has become a deeply personal and meaningful journey for me. Through the power of storytelling, community support, and personal agency, we can effect change and break down barriers surrounding men's mental health. Together, we can bring hope, awareness, and connection to those who need it most.

The Push-Up Challenge and how to get involved

3,144 is the number of push-ups to complete in 23 days from June 1st 2023. This number marks the Aussie lives lost to suicide in 2021 – and helps shine a light on the alarming prevalence of male suicide in our country. Every day we lose more than 6 men to suicide in Australia, with males accounting for around three-quarters of national suicides.

Movember is calling on all Australians to come together, get fit and have fun for The Push-Up Challenge. Your support will fund lifesaving mental health and suicide prevention projects that support at-risk men and reduce the rate of suicide – and you'll improve your health and well-being. Together, we can push for better mental health.

Join Serena’s team, Hope Floats. Be Here Tomorrow. - or create your own team. SIGN UP NOW.