Fam­i­lies, sur­vivors unite 15 years on

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - DWAYNE GRANT dwayne.grant@news.com.au

JESS Hardy summed best.

“The eve of the most de­spised day of my life,” the one-time re­al­ity TV star and for­ever heart­bro­ken sis­ter of Billy Hardy posted on so­cial me­dia as the clock ticked to­wards an­other Oc­to­ber 12. “Bali bomb­ings 15 years on.”

For the 15th time since 2002, the sun rose yes­ter­day over count­less Gold Coast­ers whose lives were shat­tered by an act of ter­ror­ism that claimed 202 peo­ple – 88 of them Aus­tralian.

The fam­ily of Billy Hardy, the young foot­baller on an end-of-sea­son trip with the South­port Sharks.

The loved ones of Jodie Cearns, the vi­va­cious hair­dresser it up who clung to life for 11 days be­fore suc­cumb­ing to her in­juries.

The fam­i­lies and friends of Robert Th­waites and Jared Gane, Julie Steven­son and Marc Ga­jardo.

Not to forget those who sur­vived the blasts but live a night­mare of a dif­fer­ent kind.

“I’m re­minded of it ev­ery day be­cause each morn­ing when I wake up I have to put my pros­thetic legs on,” Ben Tul­li­pan said as he pre­pared for last night’s me­mo­rial ser­vice at Al­lambe Gardens.

“(Oc­to­ber 12) is al­ways an up-and-down day. A lot of mem­o­ries roll back and a lot are bad but I’m one of the lucky ones. I made it out alive. My thoughts are with those fam­i­lies who had a loved one who didn’t make it back.”

In the wake of a one-tonne car bomb ex­plod­ing out­side the Sari Club, Ben was in­jured so badly nurses put a white sheet over him be­cause they thought he had died. For­tu­nately some­one no­ticed his arm move.

Fif­teen years on he is a hus­band, a father of two, an in­spir­ing golf coach and a friend to many peo­ple he would never have met if not for the worst day of his life.

“For the first year I didn’t know any­one else who was there but I’ve grad­u­ally met oth­ers,” he said.

“I still talk to them all. Our kids play to­gether.”

One of those friends shared his own post on Face­book yes­ter­day, an open in­vi­ta­tion to join him for lunch and drinks at a restau­rant a stone’s throw from the bomb­ing site.

“It will be a very ca­sual day re­mem­ber­ing loved ones and to pay our re­spects,” wrote An­drew Cs­abi, the Gold Coaster who lost a leg and half the other foot in the blast. “Raise a glass to­gether.” A touch­ing ges­ture on a som­bre day for some, a de­spised day for oth­ers, and an im­por­tant day for all.

Pic­ture: REGI VARGH­ESE

Bali bomb­ing sur­vivor Ben Tul­li­pan with his chil­dren Sheridan and Rory. Ben says he was ‘one of the lucky ones’.

Chris­tine Hardy with son Billy, who died in the bomb­ing at the Sari night­club in Bali.

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