A dad has run a marathon with an empty buggy to raise awareness of the heartbreak of losing a baby.
Troy and Kelly Austin found out at 27 weeks pregnant that they had lost their first child to stillbirth.
Three days later Kelly delivered their son and the couple got to meet and name their firstborn child – TG. Keen to use their tragic story to raise awareness and help other families, the Australian couple launched TG’s Legacy in hopes of fundraising to support grieving families, too.
And the latter was exactly what Troy hoped to do when he ran a 42km marathon with an empty pram at the Sunshine Coast Marathon.
[instagram] https://www.instagram.com/p/BX9cM5ZHx57/?taken-by=fluffy.ta_[/instagram]Sharing the image of an empty pram pre-race, Troy captioned his post explaining the reasoning behind his decision.
‘Tomorrow is a first for me, there will be no records broken, no P.B’s to run for,’ he said. ‘Just me, a good mate and an empty pram with thoughts of a little boy who should be sitting in it.’
‘I’m hoping for and also a little hesitant for the questions asked why I’m running with an empty pram, but the harsh reality is I won’t be the only one out on course without my baby.’
Talking to the Daily Mail Australia Troy, Troy continued: ‘I specifically didn’t put a sign on the pram so questions would be raised. I just didn’t realise how many questions would be raised.’
Thankfully he had the support of friends Brett Doss and Robert Hopkinson, who stayed by Troy’s side as he fielded questions about his ‘missing’ child.
‘Before the start there were some very touching moments when a few asked where my child was and I explained the point that there is no child,’ he said.
‘A hug, an apology, a tear, and a look of “I’m sorry, mate.” But when the race began, he could hear people from the crowd yelling, “Hey mate! You lost your kid”.’
‘It was jubilant, they weren’t trying to be mean,’ he said. ‘It was just Aussie humour. Stillbirth was the furthest thing from their mind and I understood that.’
Even though he was glad to be raising the topic, hearing things over and over again started to hurt with each lap.
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‘The thought which helped me, though, was telling myself that every time that phrase was yelled out, they were acknowledging that I lost my son,’ he added.
‘Parents don’t want to be ostracized from the community because it’s in the “don’t know what to say” basket. We are parents, we just hold our children in our hearts.’