GRAHAM AND NADINE BELFIELD
After losing our son, Cameron, to stillbirth in September 2011, the Sydney2CAMberra ride provided us with an event that we could organise in his memory and gave us something positive to focus on. Organising the ride to promote awareness of stillbirth and death in early childhood, and to assist others by raising money for Red Nose and the Stillbirth Foundation who provide much needed support and research, has contributed significantly to helping us incorporate the loss of Cameron into our lives.
The Sydney2CAMberra Ride is not only a fun event with a very positive and supportive community atmosphere which raises money for two worthy charities. It also provides bereaved parents with the opportunity to do something in honor of their child, a tangible way in which they can be a parent to their child who is no longer with them. In addition to this, it gives bereaved parents, particularly Dads, an outlet with a sporting focus that allows them to talk with other bereaved parents about their experiences.
The support for the ride by all of the riders, volunteers, organising committee and sponsors to date has been overwhelming and we are looking forward to putting on another great ride in April 2017 to continue to raise awareness and funds to support families who have experienced the devastating loss of their child.
Thank you to everyone involved for helping Cameron’s memory live on in such a positive way.
Chris and Natalie Ying
For 19 precious months Kobe made our lives perfect. His beautiful personality and cheeky nature brought balance and happiness to our family. Tragically, Kobe died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep on the 5th of September 2015. In a single heartbreaking moment we lost a brother and a son.
The path our family has walked and continues to walk is not one I would wish on anyone. Losing your child takes you to a depth you never knew existed. You are bombarded and battered by emotion. I felt like I was drowning in sadness, grief, fear, anger and numbness.
On the morning of Kobe’s death I remember being handed a phone and it was Red Nose Grief and Loss (formally SIDS and Kids). The counsellor asked what had happened and told me that if we wanted help Red Nose could provide it. That was my first contact of many with the amazing and dedicated team at Red Nose Grief and Loss. I attend the Dad’s group and take great comfort from being able to share my grief with other Dad’s.
I was also put in touch with a bereaved father who told me about the Sydney2CAMberra ride and mentioned how it had become a big part of his grief for his son. I knew I needed help. I knew I needed to share my loss. I knew I couldn’t survive the grief alone. I knew I needed to sign up and hope that it helped. I’m so glad I did.
I rode the Sydney2CAMberra only 7 months after Kobe’s death. At that point in time physically I was ok but mentally I was still withdrawn and numb. The Sydney2CAMberra team and riders supported me and let be whatever I needed to be. This phenomenal group creates an environment of love, compassion and friendship.
There are so many reasons I ride the Sydney2CAMberra. I like to feel the support of the group. I like raising awareness and funds for 2 charities that support families through the tragedy of losing a child. As someone who has received much needed support from Red Nose this is especially important to me. I like carrying Kobe’s name on my jersey and honouring his memory. I like the opportunity to show my other 2 sons that I haven’t forgotten their little brother.
For all these reasons I’ll be back in 2017.
Lucas and Gillian Mara
I first grappled with the injustice of losing a child when our close friends, Graham and Nadine, lost Cameron. It made something Gillian and I never considered as a reality much more tangible. From that moment on we always struggled to comprehend the injustice of "that reality" especially because, only two months earlier, we were lucky enough to have welcomed Aidan into our family. Why were we so blessed when others had to suffer?
I would often think about the fact that Aidan and Cameron would have been friends if Cameron was alive. Ironically and tragically however, Aidan was provided with the opportunity to meet Cameron three years later when he passed away unexpectedly. At the time Aidan was a healthy, vibrant and loving little boy and his death ripped a hole in our lives and our hearts.
Over time you rebuild your life and mend your heart as best you can but it is not easy and, to be honest, is not possible without the support of friends, family and the community and far as the communities go there is no community that galvanises our strength more than the Sydney2CAMberra family.
It is at this point that I need to stress the word “family” because everyone involved becomes part of an extended family due to the raw emotions shared and the amount of love and support that you both give to and receive from fellow riders, volunteers and their legions of supporters. If you ever doubt the state of humanity in today’s world you should come and get involved as I can guarantee that it will be one of the most moving and uplifting experiences that you will encounter in your life.
Apart from the community support, this ride is especially important to me as Aidan’s father because there are not many tangible things I can do to honour Aidan. This ride gives me that opportunity because it is when the going gets tough, when the physical pain is the greatest, that I feel the closest to Aidan because I know he is in my heart and mind inspiring me to go further, harder and faster. It is these moments that are special for me because you realise Aidan’s memories and my love for him will never fade and as a result I know Aidan will live forever.