CELEBRATING the legacy of a little boy and raising awareness for stillbirth were the key features of the Shine for Samuel golf day on Sunday.
Held at the Camperdown Golf Club, over 150 people turned out to celebrate and remember the life of Samuel Fox, the son of Darren and Samantha, who was tragically stillborn in March 2016.
The couple, who returned to Camperdown from Perth 12 months ago, co-ordinated and ran the day for the second time, with the first staging of the event held in the Western Australian capital in 2016.
However, the second edition had a greater meaning for them and their sons Bailey and Tommy, celebrating the life of their younger son with the people closest to them.
Darren, the greenkeeper at Camperdown, grew up in the town before moving to Perth 17 years ago. Samantha, was born in Mortlake and moved west with her parents when she was eight.
“We’re overwhelmed,” Samantha said.
“The community support and everything, the way the locals and the community rallied around us and supported us was just amazing.
“To have your friends and family really involved and really engaged along with the ones supporting you is fantastic.”
Darren said the Perth event was a success, with over 70 golfers taking part and 30 to 40 others joining in for the formalities on the 19th hole once the golf was over.
But for him, he said to share the day with his family, school friends and people he knows within the community after being away for almost half his adult life was amazing.
“It’s great, to have the support,” Darren added.
“We had some great friends and family and everything in Perth.
“But bringing it home is a pretty amazing feeling.”
The Shine for Samuel day is all about raising awareness and funds for the Stillbirth Foundation, which aims to research the causes of stillbirth.
Currently, one in six babies die in their mother’s womb with no cause of death when they are born or are close to term.
Over $1 million dollars has been raised by the foundation since 2009, but for Darren and Samantha, they’re sharing their story to take away the stigma for others who go through the same experiences they went and still go through today.
“It’s a legacy for Samuel and it’s a footprint for him and it’s also the talk to get people talking about still birth in the community,” Darren said.
“We can be at that sort of grassroots level but the Stillbirth Foundation are the ones that really pound it towards the government and the hospitals and things like that to find out why and to do all that research and advocacy.
“For us, it’s isolating when you can’t talk about it and people won’t talk about it.”
Samantha said their efforts were mainly to encourage other parents who go through the tragic experience to talk about their situation.
“It’s just opening up that communication,” she said.
“If we can create a bit of awareness and a bit of funds for research as well as create a legacy for our son, they are some pretty good motivators for us.
“If another family or other families don’t go through what we have been through or what we go through, or if what we are doing prevents another family from somehow going through our experience, then we’ve done something.”
Darren and Samantha agreed the second staging of the event was a little easier to get off the ground, purely because of the contacts they had within the local community.
They said that the Perth event was a great success, but getting the support of the businesses over there was harder than anticipated.
“You have a lot more of a network outside of a capital city, but for the Perth event, Sam had to fight really hard, not for what we were doing, but to get the support from businesses in a capital city,” Darren said.
“Because it was a first time event, they wanted to see if it was successful before they supported it, which was a challenge in Perth but we didn’t have that problem here,” Samantha said.
In Camperdown, businesses and individuals all wanted to be a part of the day, with the field finalised a month before the event.
“People came at us here,” Darren said.
“Once it started to get a bit of momentum, they were coming towards us, and the field was full a month out.
“We also had quite a few sponsors; they all donated product or a prize so to speak.
“We had a lot of higher support in terms of prizes from sponsors but we also had support from local businesses donating vouchers for the day.”
The Shine for Samuel day involved 18 holes of Ambrose golf, with teams of four taking to the course, before presentations and raffles were held in the clubhouse.
All funds raised throughout the day go to the Stillbirth Foundation, with the aim of making this an annual event.
“We raised about $6000 from Sunday and from what we’ve done in Perth as well, we’ve raised about $16,000,” Samantha said.
“We did two campaigns over there, one was the golf day which raised about $7000 and we did another event where we raised about $3000.
“For us moving forward, the golf day is what we would like to see.
“For Darren, golf is obviously his thing and in Perth my experience was event management, so together it’s fitting and we’ve done it twice and had no failures.”
But for Darren and Samantha, along with Bailey and Tommy, all they want to do is share Samuel’s life with the people closest to them.
They are thankful for the support of everyone involved in the event, with the day going a long way towards celebrating a “little life”.
“We just want to thank the community, the locals, friends and family and all the people that rallied behind us and made the day a success, because without them it wouldn’t have been,” Samantha said.
“A lot of people travelled to the day which was great because that sort of support is priceless.
“We just wanted people up there having a fun day and to remember why we were there, but overall to have a great day and raise some awareness and some funds and that’s exactly what we did,” Darren added.
“It was perfect.”
Shine for Samuel golf day results:
1st- Chris White, Sam Walsh, Brendan Skene and Jamie Horan;
2nd- Luke Clarke, Neville Swayn, Matt Sinnott and Keith Baker;
3rd- Brian Fitzgerald, Janet Fitzgerald, Doreen Horan and David Absolom;
4th- Daniel Beard, Sam Rix, Tyran Dowell and Matthew Absalom.
Men’s nearest the pins: 2nd Rick Carr, 9th Thomas Clissold, 15th Troy Stephens, 17th- Matthew Absalom (hole-in-one).
Women’s nearest the pins: 2nd Marg White, 15th Heather Gill, 17th Vicki Fitzgerald.
Closest second shot: Garry Ward and Doreen Horan.
Straightest drive: Gayle Gill.
Longest drives: Justin White and Mandy Dalton.
Longest putts: J. Collins and Col Keane.