Simone Brick - Relay for Respite Blog Post 1

July 05, 2023

Simone Brick - Relay for Respite Blog Post 1

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” - Rosalyn Carter

This November I am embarking on an adventure with a dear friend Rowan Brookes and two more yet to be found unpaid carers to shine a light on the role unpaid carers play in keeping so many lives moving forward. Collectively, we will cover 200 km through the beautiful Aussie wilderness in Western Australia as a relay team in the Great Southern Stage Run, and together with Salomon AU/NZ and Tailwind AU we will be raising funds for Carers Australia. Unpaid carers who are thrust into a demanding caring role without any prior warning or experience are angels throughout the world that make more of a difference than they ever receive credit for, and I hope sharing my story alongside the stories of the carers who join me will create more awareness and understanding of the journey of these behind the scene heroes.

I have had so many pinch-me moments in life over the last few years. Moments that feel so at odds with where I have been in the past that it feels like I have been transported forward in time from the worst of days to the best of days, leaving me wondering how on earth I got here. I can see that I have always in some ways been extremely lucky despite everything that has happened, and it is in my highest moments that I am more thankful than I could ever express in words for the people that have gotten me to this day.

There are no two ways about it, I would not be alive, let alone doing all the crazy stuff I currently do, without the special people who cared for me during my worst times. Most of all my parents, but really there was a whole village of people caring for both me and my family throughout the struggle. Each person relied on the next to make it through to tomorrow, and rise to fight another day.

 I will never forget the day my mum stopped working her job and started receiving the relatively tiny although helpful carers payment for looking after me. It hit me hard, knowing that at the age of 18 my mum was once again my full-time carer, setting aside her own life’s journey because my needs had grown to the point of being unable to do anything on my own. I felt like I was not only destroying my own life, but destroying hers and the rest of my family’s as well, but I also knew I couldn’t go on without her doing this. 

Throughout everything, she was by my side. If I had nightmares, she would crawl into my single bed with me and cuddle me back to sleep. If I was rushed to hospital she would be there, sleeping in the hospital chair by my bed, or helping the nurses and doctors by calming me and holding my hands/feet to stop me from hurting myself when they couldn’t. If I came home after harming myself or dissociating from reality, I could trust that mum would be there, unjudging and ready to give me a hug and sit by my side calmly while we waited for an ambulance. In the foam bedded, bare, emergency room holding cells, she was there. In the private hospital rooms, every single day for months on end, she was there. For the entire first two years of my running, every single run I did, either mum or dad were there beside me, on a bike, making sure I was safe.

I have no doubt that there were a few times in my journey that were much harder on mum, dad and anyone else trying to care for me than they were for me. I don’t remember a lot, the scars of trauma and the hazy memories of a brain that was not at all functional protecting me from some of the worst of it until I am ready to tackle it with my psychologist. But mum, dad, and everyone else around me, they were fully aware and able to actually see and feel everything that was happening in the moment. I could not imagine just how hard that was. In the end it was me that had to do the work to get myself out of the struggle, but it was mum, dad and others I leaned on that enabled me to begin that work again, and again, and again after each fall.



As I have improved and gotten my life back on track, I have continuously been congratulated for what I have done. I appreciate that immensely, and I am proud of how damn hard I have worked for over a decade now to create the life I am living. But so many times it feels like a good portion of the congratulations should also be going to mum and my family. Behind the scenes what they did is nothing short of heroic, and there are countless other unpaid carers also navigating this struggle that is just as arduous and worthy of acknowledgement as the journey of who they are caring for.

This is why Relay For Respite has been born. My motivation within my running career has never been winning, but honouring those that got me here by working for my absolute best, while also forming a platform that I can use to create something much bigger and more meaningful that just running and competing. I have found and created a team of sponsors and supporters that share my goals and aspirations in both performance and life, and I could not be more thankful to Salomon, Tailwind and every other brand and company that is helping make this happen.

As a result of Relay For Respite, I want carers to receive more of the spotlight, more funding, and more recognition of the fact that without them, no-one survives the depths of despair and comes out the other side able to live and thrive. From my experience, to keep doing the work they do, each individual carer needs two main things: Hope that it will get better one day, and periods of respite from the day-to-day life they endure. In a small way, I want to provide these two things to as many carers as I can through awareness raising and fundraising for Carers Australia, but I also have a huge belief that making a big difference to a small group helps create larger ripples of change. So I will be honoured to be joined by Rowan, who has helped shape this project by being the voice of a current carer as she navigates caring for her beautiful son, as well as two other unpaid carers. We will form a team to share the healing power of movement and nature as we help each other through the 200km journey of Relay For Respite as a team. I can only hope that this gives them a much needed break in nature to experience some love and joy through movement, while also healing through having their stories be heard, and me being able to explain in person just how much being cared for means.

When you think deeply about it, carers really enable the world to operate in the way that it does. So to all the carers out there, female, male, young, old - from me to you; Thank You. You make a HUGE difference, and even when it doesn’t feel like you’re helping, you almost always are. Mum had no idea in the bad moments if she was helping me or making things worse, as I would scream and yell and push back against her help many times. But in the times I was pushing her away most, I needed her most, and the fact she stayed strong and remained to be there was the most amazing reassurance, and all I needed her to do.

Stay strong, and I hope you find something useful in following along this Relay For Respite journey. Please reach out to me and share your own story if you would like, or let me know what you think will help yourself and others in caring roles most. I am open to all suggestions and want to make this project as fruitful as possible, guided by those it is meant to be helping.



"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel" - Carl W. Buechner


For all the nitty gritty details and to nominate yourself or someone you care for, click the button below (Nominations close 23 July 2023).


To read more about the Great Southern Stage run, the 200km event we will be tackling as a team, CLICK HERE.

For more information of Carer's Australia, including information and resources for carers and those being cared for, CLICK HERE.


All donations will go directly to Carer's Australia, with the goal of Relay for Respite to raise $20,000. Thank you so much for the support!