13 November 2015

When Rochelle Nicole started a Movember team in honour of her friend Rhys McNaughton she didn’t realize how far their story would travel.

Rochelle Nicole - Mo’ing in honour of her mate Rhys
Rochelle Nicole is a first year Mo Sista from Sydney who is Mo’ing for her mate Rhys McNaughton who tragically took his own life on Friday 23rd October. 

When Rochelle started her Movember team, Hotter than Zac Efron, in honour of Rhys she didn’t realize how far their story would travel. We sat down with her to chat about Rhys and why his story has captured the attention of people around the world.

Movember: How did you know Rhys?
Rochelle: I was living on the Central Coast of NSW about 3 years ago and Rhys was living in Lismore going to uni. We had mutual friends and we’d hang out on weekends partying and going to music festivals. We’d got for drives through Terrigal and sit at the Skillion chatting about all things life. 

I moved to London for 2 years and we stayed in touch. Recently Rhys was in the states and I was in Bali, we touched base and said we’d catch up for dinner when we were both back in Sydney and exchange travelling stories, unfortunately we never got the chance. I regret this so much.

Movember: What made you choose Movember for your fundraising campaign?
Rochelle: We got the news on a Saturday 24th October that Rhys had taken his life the night before. I set up the page on the Monday because I really wanted to raise awareness of the pain and suffering depression and anxiety can bring to the men in our lives. Even the ones we don’t suspect. 

Rhys used to always rock a Mo and really pulled it off! He might have actually started it one Movember and just kept it going.

Movember: Your team has been getting donations and press from around the world. You must find this so humbling to know that you are not only supported within your local community but also worldwide?
Rochelle: Yeah, you know it was funny the other day I got a donation for $1. “It said hi there from America, I just wanted to get your attention to say what you’re doing is amazing. Depression is something I have suffered from and is very close to my heart so thank you for raising awareness around the world.”

It was only $1 but the message from someone from the other side of the world who has experienced depression firsthand, meant so much. It’s been incredible.

Movember: Rhys’ mate James mentioned that it was often Rhys who was there for him when he was struggling. 
Rochelle: Everyone that talks about Rhys says the exact same thing, that Rhys was always there for anyone and everyone. Whether you were a long standing friend or met just 5 minutes ago, he would sit you down and talk about anything and everything. 

Rhys made such a big impact on me. On the first day I met him we had a huge group of us get a mini bus to a festival in Sydney from my house. It wasn’t until at his funeral last week I learnt that some of those people had only met Rhys  that day…. I thought they were all lifelong friends! That’s the way Rhys made you feel! You instantly felt a connection. 

Movember: What is your message to those who may be struggling?
Rochelle: “It’s ok to admit you’re not ok”. There is help out there. Speak up. It may be hard to speak out but I promise it is much harder to live with the pain. 

If you feel you have no one to reach out to, then please call Lifeline. They are trained professionals who will listen to you, talk to you, help you.

There is a beautiful world out there, a bright future ahead for anyone, and you deserve it. Don’t ever doubt that. You’re not alone. Speak up. “It’s ok to admit you’re not ok”.

Thanks you so much Rochelle for your awareness and fundraising efforts, and for taking the time to chat with us. This is why we Mo. 

If you or anyone you know is in distress and needs immediate support then please contact the number below:

Lifeline on 13 11 14 or at http://www.lifeline.org.au/