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When Abbie* was 14 years old her drink was spiked.

Friday, 18 Jun 2021

When Abbie* was 14 years old her drink was spiked with a ‘date rape drug’ at a local rodeo competition.

The support of her family, and lessons learned as a child in how to identify risky situations, helped keep her safe. But not everyone at that event was as lucky. Now, the country girl turned Life Ed teacher is making it her mission to protect regional kids.

Abbie grew up in on the NSW coast, on a large property with lots of horses. A country girl at heart, she had a passion for competing at local riding events.

“I had a great childhood, surrounded by people who loved me, doing the things that made me happy. I think I was naive about how to identify risk,” Abbie says.

At age 14 Abbie had a terrifying experienced that shaped the rest of her life.

“I was at a local rodeo competition when I started to feel weird. The last thing I can recall is being approached by an older girl and her male friend at a sausage sizzle when I was buying a can of drink. They asked me where the toilets were. Thinking back now, things didn’t add up.

“When I met mum and dad back at the horses, I knew something was off. I immediately told my parents I wasn’t feeling right. They noticed my odd behaviour and made the decision to take me to hospital.

“I am lucky that I was there with my family as anything could have happened. I found out later that multiple people at the event experienced similar situations, unfortunately, some more terrifying then others.”

According to Abbie, lessons learned during a Healthy Harold visit to her school also helped to keep her safe.

“If I wasn’t educated with the knowledge of what drugs are, I might have not known what the big deal was and come forward to my parents about my feelings. To this day, I believe that the Healthy Harold lesson helped me with strategies to keep safe and seek help,” Abbie says.

Now Abbie is on a mission to empower country kids to stay safe. She has recently joined Life Ed NSW as a regional educator, teaching country kids the important life lessons that she learned early on.

“It’s important that kids in regional NSW have the same opportunities as kids in the cities. Healthy Harold helped me learn about personal safety, and taught me to identify trusted adults and people in our community to seek help from.”

We see almost 300,000 children in NSW from more than 1,800 schools each year, but we still have a long way to ensure all kids in NSW have the crucial skills and information needed to help them live life to their full potential.

We need to raise $10,000 by the end of June to ensure 3,500 of our most vulnerable kids have access to our program, to give them the skills to recognise unsafe situations and develop strategies to seek help, just like Abbie did. As little as $25 can make a big difference in a young person’s life. By helping us now you’ll receive a tax-deductible receipt for your donation – just in time for your 2021 tax return.

P.S. Life Ed program gives children and young people the skills to recognise safe and unsafe situations, and to get help if needed. As a charitable organisation, we rely on the generous support from business, government and the community. A $10 tax deductible gift today will equip one child with valuable life skills. Help us now to set up kids for future success.