Mum walk­ing in mem­ory of son

TAK­ING ON 20KM TO RAISE FUNDS FOR VERY SPE­CIAL KIDS

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Tara Whitsed

With the motto ‘‘Henry couldn’t walk but we can’’, Shep­par­ton’s Jess Holmes will walk 20 km in mem­ory of her son who died in 2013.

Joined by friends and fam­ily, Ms Holmes will take part in the a2Milk™ Up­stream Chal­lenge on Satur­day, Novem­ber 10, to raise funds for chil­dren’s char­ity Very Spe­cial Kids, which con­tin­ues to sup­port her fam­ily five years af­ter Henry’s death.

‘‘Our fam­ily was beau­ti­fully sup­ported by Very Spe­cial Kids when Henry was alive and we con­tinue to be through their be­reave­ment pro­gram,’’ Ms Holmes said.

‘‘I want to raise funds and aware­ness, so they can con­tinue to sup­port fam­i­lies like ours.

‘‘It’s re­ally im­por­tant for our fam­ily to give back when­ever we can.’’

Henry ex­pe­ri­enced his first stroke when he was still in­side his mother’s womb.

There were no warn­ings — it just happened.

As time went on many more health is­sues struck Henry.

Henry died when he was just six years old, on De­cem­ber 19, 2013, af­ter a 19-day bat­tle in hospi­tal with 10 days in the ICU.

‘‘He had this aura about him, he didn’t need words to get peo­ple in, the re­la­tion­ships just formed,’’ Ms Holmes said.

One of these re­la­tion­ships in­cluded the sup­port from a Very Spe­cial Kids fam­ily sup­port prac­ti­tioner, who con­tin­ues to work with the fam­ily.

‘‘I can­not put enough value on hav­ing some­one there dur­ing and af­ter­wards,’’ Ms Holmes said.

‘‘You don’t only lose your child, you lose so much more and the only con­stant thing has been Very Spe­cial Kids.’’

Very Spe­cial Kids helps more than 900 fam­i­lies across Vic­to­ria who have a child with a lifethreat­en­ing con­di­tion, with on­go­ing sup­port from di­ag­no­sis all the way through to be­reave­ment.

Start­ing in the Mel­bourne CBD, Up­stream Chal­lenge par­tic­i­pants will fol­low the Yarra River up­stream, walk­ing or run­ning 20 km of trails to fin­ish at Don­vale. There is also a 50 km op­tion. ‘‘To be sur­rounded by peo­ple that want to do good is an awe­some feel­ing,’’ Ms Holmes said.

‘‘Everyone is there be­cause they have been af­fected in some way by the three char­i­ties in­volved — and for us it’s Very Spe­cial Kids.’’ ● To sup­port Jess Holmes’ fundrais­ing ef­forts, go to: up­stream­foun­da­tion.org/do­nate/

On a mis­sion: Shep­par­ton’s Jess Holmes is walk­ing 20km to raise money for Very Spe­cial Kids.

Much-loved: Jess Holmes with her son Henry who passed away in 2013.

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