Karratha Black Dog Ride commemorates Chanel
At least 80 people rode in solidarity with the family of late Karratha resident Chanel Nicholas in a sombre Black Dog Ride on Sunday evening.
The annual ride for preventing suicide and depression, which is organised locally by the Pilbara Motorcycle Sisters, was this year dedicated to remembering Mrs Nicholas, who tragically took her own life in December aged just 39.
The event ended with a community event at Hearson’s Cove —Mrs Nicholas’ favourite beach — where more than 100 people gathered to share stories of their memories of her.
Four members of Mrs Nicholas’ family travelled from Perth to be part of the ride, with her parents choosing to ride up over a three-day journey. Her husband and his family also attended.
Mrs Nicholas’ sister Fleur Roberts said the family was touched by how many people had come out to pay tribute to her sister.
“It’s brilliant, but I think it’s a testimony to Chanel,” she said.
“Chanel was really involved with the community, and since it’s happened, it’s amazing how many people have come up to me and told me stories about how Chanel helped them out or touched them or did something for them.
“It seems she touched so many different people.”
Mrs Nicholas had lived in Karratha for seven years and battled mental illness throughout her adult life.
She was one of seven people in the Pilbara, including five in Karratha, who took their own lives over the holiday period in a spate of suicides that rocked the region.
Event organiser and PMS committee member Joanne Waterstrom-Muller said it had been the group’s biggest Black Dog Ride yet.
“I think everyone has in their minds what’s happened over the Christmas period, and to have people rally around this event is great,” she said.
“There are so many people who want to have the conversation now.”
Other local groups that took part in the ride included the Karratha Bikers’ Association and Iwi Riders.
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