Locals push through

By Daniel Hughes

‘‘Just because you can’t achieve something one day, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it the next.’’

That was the motto Sacha Jefferies embraced when she took on the Push For Better push-up challenge in May in a bid to improve her physical and mental health.

Stacey O’Dwyer also completed more than 500 push-ups as part of her Middy’s Country VIC/NSW/ACT team, which finished the challenge on Sunday.

Push For Better required individuals to complete a total or share of 3046 push-ups in daily challenges set by the foundation from May 11 to May 31.

The specific number of push-ups is directly correlated to the exact number of men’s suicides in 2018, which is when the challenge first started.

The foundation’s goal is to help reduce the number of Australian lives being lost to suicide by increasing awareness of mental ill health in the community and raising funds for Headspace. 

The Middy’s Country VIC/NSW/ACT team was able to raise more than $700 during the 21-day challenge, while Jefferies raised more than $500 individually.

For Jefferies, the chance to raise awareness and build fitness of the body and mind connected with her on a personal level.

‘‘Mental health has played a big part in my life, for myself and my friends,’’ Jefferies said.

‘‘I’ve been through a rough patch in the last six months, so for me it was a bit of motivation to set my mind on a daily goal.

‘‘I honestly didn’t think I could do it but after I got through the first two days I realised I could.

‘‘By day five I was doing well but wanted to challenge myself further, so I split the daily total between squats and push-ups.’’

O’Dwyer took on the campaign as part of a team building challenge, and completed more than her set number of push-ups.

‘‘We were allocated a certain number to do each day individually,’’ O’Dwyer said.

‘‘I would do mine in the evenings, so I’d check the challenge app and see if any of my teammates had missed their allocation and I’d do theirs too.

‘‘It meant we could finished each daily goal.

‘‘It was hard work; I feel stronger now but I’m glad it’s over.’’  

Jefferies was overwhelmed at reaching her personal fundraising goal, which she said was the inspiration to follow through and finish each allocated push-up.

‘‘Day 16 was a really tough day for me; I put a notice out to say I wasn’t physically and mentally able to get that day finished,’’ Jefferies said.

‘‘However, when I saw how generous people were I wanted to show how grateful I was. Even though the challenge had finished, I did that day 16 to say thank you for the support.’’

While the challenge is over, fundraising remains open.  To donate to Jefferies go to, or visit to donate to O’Dwyer’s team.

■ Anyone requiring crisis support can contact NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.