More than 340 men and women of HMAS Cerberus opted for a red ‘nose job’ to show the people of Victoria it’s a painless and fun way to support the SIDS and Kids Red Nose Day on 27 June.
Cerberus regularly supports worthy charities through fundraising and tin shaking efforts within their base, in the local community, right through to the greater Melbourne region. With more than 2500 Defence members posted there, the odds are high that each charity supported holds a special meaning for some of its members and as such, they gladly make the effort to contribute in some way.
SIDS and Kids Red Nose Day is on 27 June this year, and in the lead up to the important day the Cerberus personnel jumped at the chance to bring attention to the cause and support not only SIDS and Kids, but one of Navy’s ex-serving sailors, Mr John ‘Bert’ Harrison.
John has been fundraising for SIDS and Kids for 27 years and has raised more than $125,000 in that time. While posted to HMAS Stalwart, he was notified that his wife had gone into labour back home in Melbourne. On returning to his wife and daughter, John learned his second daughter, Liane, had been born but that all was not well. Sadly, Liane passed away at 38 hours old on 2 October 1987. Since then, John has devoted much of his time to supporting others who have faced the same tragedy.
The impact of losing Liane will never go away, but Mr Harrison feels that his efforts in fundraising and counselling others have helped lessen the pain.
“I am grateful for the support I have received from my Navy family over the years and their willingness to continue to give their time and money as well as purchasing merchandise.
“The Navy has been my family for 29 years. When I left I was offered a civilian job here at Cerberus and I still feel a part of the Navy family today.
“Being surrounded by Navy people has helped me support other families that have lost children to SIDS. It’s helped me provide grief counselling to others and to feel I’m making a difference,” Mr Harrison said.
Each year, over 3500 Australian families experience the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child. SIDS and Kids NSW and Victoria provide education as well as support for those families, with face to face counselling, 24 hour telephone support and through raising awareness.
SIDS and Kids CEO Associate Professor Leanne Raven thanks the community for their generous support for the past 29 years but says that the work needs to continue.
“SIDS and Kids relies heavily on fundraising so that we can continue to provide preventative education, fund research and support bereaved families.”
This year John Harrison and SIDS and Kids are asking the Navy family to put their best nose forward and make a donation on Red Nose Day. More information is available on the Red Nose Day website.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141778.