FRANCIS Mclaughlan first turned to the bottle to “dumb out” the memories of a 17-year-old boy who died in his arms after a drag race gone wrong.
It was 2004 when a teenage driver slammed into Mr Mclaughlan’s car at 150km/h, splitting him in two.
Tragically the young driver died and the incident has had a lasting impact.
“I was never a drinker, but it made me drink. I thought he was trying to talk to me and I wanted to dumb it out,” Mr Mclaughlan said.
“He hit me head-on and died in my arms. I had post-traumatic stress disorder every day.”
Deciding to seek help, Mr Mclaughlan ended up founding The Health Retreat, which helps tackle mental health disorders.
He says young men are “dying like flies” and are unable to take the first steps to turn their lives around.
“Men are wired differently, we supposedly cope better and keep it bottled up inside, but you’re no good dead.”
Over the next month, Mr Mclaughlan will try to raise $50,000 for mental health and prostate cancer by taking part in the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride in Noosa on September 30.
He’s already raised more than $1600 and while the $50,000 goal might seem lofty, he doesn’t “do things by halves”.
To help, go to www.gentle mansride.com/fundraiser/FrancisFounderofTheHealthRetreat.