Hervey Bay mum channelling grief to help others in need
KATIE Joy's pain of losing her baby boy to brain damage will never ease.
Ms Joy had to make the heartbreaking decision to have her son Khai's life support turned off just six weeks after his birth.
Now, seven years later, the brave single mum-of-two wants to share her story in an effort to raise funds for other Hervey Bay families with sick or disabled children.
Ms Joy said the help of charities like the Ronald McDonald House, which provided six weeks accommodation, allowed her to spend every precious minute by her son's side at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
"It was the most traumatic experience of my life but at least I could meet him and touch him and experience motherhood, as he was my first child," she said.
"I didn't eat, sleep, drink. It could have been one hour or days - I was so lost in anguish that after he passed away I got really, really physically sick.
"But it was due to the generosity of charity that I could afford to live by his bedside for all those weeks, and I had the chance to know his sweet little personality."
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The ZCLUB Dance Fitness instructor will host two fundraising dance events, with all proceeds being split evenly between children's charities Give Me 5 for Kids and Aedan's Crusade.
Hervey Bay's Aedan Harris, 6, was born prematurely and diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, the same condition doctors believe Ms Joy's baby would have suffered later in life.
She said families like the Harris family who juggle and transform their lives to take care of sick or disabled children were in need of support.
"I was consulted on the expenses of raising a child with a disability and the costs were quite frightening," Ms Joy said.
"Aedan's father, Cameron Harris, is a part of the Fraser Coast fitness community and a great role model for his son. He takes Aedan to many activities and events.
"Money raised will go towards extra equipment and modifications to their home.
"But it's more than just the money raised. It's to say, hey, we understand, we care! You are not alone!"
Give Me 5 for Kids is a charity that helps provide the Fraser Coast community with aid and support to sick children and their families in times of need.
"This is how I can contribute to others that experience the pain and stress of having their child very sick," Ms Joy said.
"I'm finally at a place to give back to the community that supported me when I was most in need."
ZCLUB Zumba Fitness Dance classes will be held on Scarness stage on May 9 and June 27, from 9am-10am.
Donations of $5 to $10 would be appreciated.