Written by Sarah Pridham, mum of Jasper, for Still Aware.
Fancy name for the title of a blog – well I think so anyway. However, this blog is about discussing my Footprints in the Sand fundraiser that I organised and hosted on Sunday the 3rdof March 2019 at North Beach, Wallaroo (yes, the fundraiser was on the beach).
The first fundraiser that I organised and hosted was in February 2018, and immediately after I finished that fundraiser, I knew that I wanted to do one every year in our son’s memory and so the planning begun for the next one. At first it was quite a challenge as I knew I wanted to do something completely different from the first one – challenge accepted!!!
The planning of this fundraiser was built around my initial idea of a memorial walk along the beach (and obviously the name of the fundraiser quickly followed) – I knew that Footprints in the Sand was the perfect name for this event.
As mentioned above, the memorial walk along the beach was my initial idea – to take the footsteps and to make the footprints in someone else’s memory. From there, my fundraiser just grew and started to take shape to include market stalls, bake sale, raffles, silent auction, fundraiser showbags, lucky dips and a colouring in competition.
There were 16 local businesses that registered to have a stall as part of the beach markets, 29 businesses that donated raffle prizes (we had 51 prizes in total) and 5 local businesses who donated prizes for the silent auction.
I had 2 local supermarkets donate the contents of the showbags and a lovely group of friends who did a lot of baking for the bake sale. The support didn’t stop there – I had people donating items for the bric a brac sale, a local who did acoustic music on the beach which really helped to set the atmosphere and the local Apex club donated all the trestle tables and gazebos for me to use for the day (really, the list is endless).
The fundraiser was raising money for two organisations – Still Aware (in memory of our son) and The Cancer Council (in memory of my Grandma and my husband’s Grandpa).
About half way through the event, there was a group of people who participated in the memorial walk along the beach (which was done in silence) as a time of reflection for those we have lost. We also did a memorial hearts release, which involved writing names of the lost loved ones on biodegradable love hearts, and then releasing them into the ocean.
I also provided those who participated in the memorial walk with dried rose petals so that, in their own time, they could walk along releasing those as well. It was a very emotional time for many involved, but also something truly beautiful to do in a loved one’s memory.
I started my day at 9am and finished my day at 7pm – once I was home, I wanted to calculate the results so that I could announce it on Facebook for those who were interested.
We had 618 people attend (this does not include all those under 5 years old) – to be honest I never thought that I would get anywhere near this number of people interested in attending the event at all, it was and still is incredible to think that this many people attended, especially since we are in the country and even better we managed to raised a total of $4,700.
I had a lot of feedback during the day, at the end of the event, and even afterwards through comments on the Facebook page where people had mentioned to me that they would like to see it as an annual event because they really enjoyed it so much.
Stay tuned, I am still deciding, but at the moment just catching up on some much needed rest from this one. All I know is that I will continue to do a fundraiser every year and small things in between to assist other bereaved parents in any way that I can.
A lot of people ask me why I do these fundraisers, so I will explain my reasoning now. Firstly, I do them in our son’s memory. Secondly, I do them to raise money. But mostly I do them to raise awareness – whether it is awareness about the loss itself or awareness about the organisation that I am raising money for. I also do them to try to help with breaking the silence around baby and infant loss, and make those in my local community who have experienced the loss of a baby feel a little less alone and a little more related to.
For anyone out there that is considering doing a fundraiser in their child’s memory, this is my personal opinion – do whatever you need to do. A fundraiser won’t take away the hurt, pain, grief or emptiness from the loss, but it will, however, allow you to do something positive in their memory and assist you with trying to guide some positive focus and energy into such a dark, exhausting and heartbreaking situation. It will give you some hope and purpose for a short period of time.
All I know is that I will continue to do them because I want our son to know how loved, and missed, he is and I want to make sure that he is remembered and honoured in a positive way.