Canberra’s newest personality, ‘Ken Behrens’, has joined up with colleagues ‘Belle Connen’, ‘Juan E Asser’ and ‘Kurt Tinn’ to raise money for Menslink as the ACT’s COVID-19 lockdown continues.
Renee Fitzgerald, who runs DXT Designs as a hobby business from home, saw the #KenBehrens hashtag and the amount of joy it’s bringing to the ACT during a tough time in which most events have been cancelled for at least the next fortnight.
So she decided to design a series of T-shirts.
“I was lying in bed and had a giggle and thought how cool would it be to have the bus shelter and name on a shirt?” she tells Region Media.
Renee also decided to donate $5 from each T-shirt sold to Menslink, an organisation close to her heart because of the work it does with her son.
Being able to raise money for Menslink is a win-win for the designer.
The popularity of the T-shirts has been unexpected, with orders coming in from as far as Greece and London.
It’s been a welcome surprise for the mum of three who started designing creations as a way to cope with homeschooling during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
Orders have started to pile up through Renee’s Facebook page, DXT Designs, with more than 50 orders being processed with the help of her family.
It’s not the only item of clothing Canberra’s newly minted cult celebrity has managed to get his name on, with the Canberra Raiders also giving ‘Ken Behrens’ a place on the club’s jersey for its NRL clash with Manly tonight (20 August).
The Green Machine has updated its Canberra Milk logo to “salute the hero of home quarantine … [as] thousands of locals do their part across the ACT to make sure they stay safe during the current lockdown”.
Ken Behrens has also been made the Raiders Viking Ambassador for the night, and will blow the Viking horn via Zoom before the Raiders run onto the field at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Menslink CEO Marty Fisk welcomes the effort and support from Renee, telling Region Media the much-needed funding from the sale of her T-shirts will go towards the organisation’s mentoring and counselling programs and services.
Menslink’s counselling and mentoring programs have all moved online during the COVID-19 lockdown, which impacts people’s ability to connect, and forces some young people to pull out of them until they can return to face-to-face sessions, says Marty.
“It’s just not as effective when it is not face-to-face,” he says. “There can be some privacy issues and you do not get the richness of human interaction.”
Menslink has been forced to cancel this month’s Midweeker event, and move its Business Breakfast online, which is a serious hit to the organisation’s fundraising efforts during an already tumultuous financial year.
The breakfast has been moved online, but the chair of Beyond Blue, Julia Gillard, will still address the event.
“It will still be a really good event, but just not the same,” says Marty.
More information about the Ken Behrens T-shirts is available here.