League great Andrew Johns called it his "hare-brained idea" - but after just one day of his week-long charity trek, the former Newcastle Knight has raised more than $2 million for bipolar disorder research.
With Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at his side, Johns yesterday began his six-day walk from Newcastle to Sydney in a bid to raise money for the Black Dog Institute.
It was only a year ago that the former Australian captain revealed his secret battle with mental illness.
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Now he says the NIB Andrew Johns Walk is his way of giving something back to the people who helped and supported him though the toughest time of his life.
"It was a hare-brained idea I came up with to do this, but I wanted to say thank you and also help other people out there who are struggling with mental illness," Johns said.
More than 600,000 people across Australia suffer from bipolar disorder.
Announcing a $2 million donation to the Black Dog Institute, Mr Rudd praised Johns for speaking about his battle with depression, describing him as an inspiration to millions of people dealing with mental illness.
"What we are doing and what Andrew has been doing for a long time is removing that last great Australian taboo - talking openly about mental illness," Mr Rudd said.
Walker Chris Osborne, said it wasn't until he read Johns' biography that he realised he may also have bipolar disorder. "Being on this walk for me is about dealing with bipolar disorder and learning more about it."
(Credit: The Daily Telegraph)
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