One dynamite duo, former New England man Asher Cribb and his life-partner Maddy Richey, have started to make their vision for a better Aboriginal future a reality.
They are working to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, turning the dire life expectancy figure from a number on a data sheet into something able to be improved upon.
How? The fitness fanatics and CrossFit enthusiasts have created activewear brand MSCL.UP, to use as a vessel to fund groups and organisations on the ground, doing the hard yards.
"I remember at uni and at school, we would be told the numbers that Aboriginals would live to just 60 or 70, but nothing much was ever given as a solution to fix it," Maddy explained.
"In my career as a nurse, I see quite healthy 90 to 100-year-olds, and I think, wow wouldn't it be good to see our mob live to be in that age range."
A proud Gamilaroi woman with roots in Tingha and Tenterfield, she's seen many family members get sick with chronic disease, experiencing that loss quite young.
I want to see fitness and exercise as being the norm, not the exception.- Maddy Richey
"That's sort of been the biggest thing - we have so much to offer but unfortunately we are not able to live long healthy lives to be able to give our all."
Her partner in business and in life is former Inverell man Asher Cribb.
Asher sparked the idea of using the activewear brand to then funnel some of the profits into groups, those specifically focused on improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing.
And so the brand was born in Grafton - with a toddler and a newborn, in the midst of a pandemic.
They launched their first range and summer collection in January, and the journey has been "interesting" to say the least.
"It's been tough - but at the same time it has been so rewarding to see what we've done so far," Asher enthused.
Already, they've partnered with a new not-for-profit working around the Alice Springs area, Kere to Country, which aims to reduce the cost of food expenses for remote communities.
"They are relatively new too, and it's so great to see the work they've achieved so far, because a big part of health is being able to access good, nutritious food."
Alongside the clothing pursuits, Maddy hosts the MSCL.UP Project - a podcast and platform for discussing all things health and wellness with influential players in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous space.
The duo have also shanghaied a well-known ambassadors to amplify their message.
NRL player Daine Laurie, women's NRL player Shaylee Bent and Australian representative Rugby Union player Amelia Kuk will work with them to spread the message.
"We're stoked to have our ambassadors on board and look forward to uniting people through fashion, fitness and a bit of fun this year," Asher said.
"I want to see fitness and exercise as being the norm, not the exception," Maddy explained.
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