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Paying it forward Justin’s Day keeps founder’s name alive

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April 04, 2018

Justin’s Day committee: Robert Smith, Jason Lynch, Mark Pointon, Nicolle Lynch, Laura Harris, Tracey Pointon, Lisa Thouliss, Loretta Sanderson and Kelly Quigg

Seymour-based fundraising group Justin’s Day recently donated more than $10000 to a mother of two young children whose husband and father died a few weeks ago.

Justin’s Day was launched in November 2015 to raise money for local father Justin Quigg and his family in order to give them the opportunity to travel the north-east coast of Australia as he battled melanoma.

It was Mr Quigg’s wish for the town to have the fundraiser every year so local families facing adversity like his family could either have something ticked off their bucket list or receive some much-needed financial assistance.

Mr Quigg died in June 2016, and in November last year the first annual ‘Justin’s Day’ was held in Seymour, with the group raising more than $20000.

Justin’s Day founder Kelly Quigg said the group donated $4500 to fight melanoma and donated $10470 to the family in need, via Palliative Care.

‘‘We went and gave the money to a lovely mother of two young children,’’ Mrs Quigg said.

‘‘Her husband recently passed away and they’re in dire need of the money, so that will help her pay bills and help out with the funeral, as well as kids’ school uniforms and shoes — they’re quite a struggling family.

‘‘The last thing they want to think about is how to get money to pay a bill ... and they’re losing a major income earner.

‘‘She stayed home with the children and he had three jobs. So I’m sure it’s not going to ease their pain at all, but if it can help out to stop the stress a little bit in their family or she can stay home a little longer before she has to go to work ... anything that helps.’’

Mrs Quigg said giving the cheque to the family felt ‘‘bittersweet’’, as she was sad for the family’s loss but happy to be able to help out in some way.

‘‘This is exactly what Justin wanted so I think he would be really happy,’’ Mrs Quigg said.

‘‘There were moments when we didn’t think we’d get there but in the end it’s what Justin wanted and we managed to soldier on. Unfortunately it was pretty bittersweet — it felt so good to hand the money over, but it was for such a crappy reason.’’

But she said putting together Justin’s Day 2017 and reaching out to this family through Palliative Care helped her with her own healing process.

‘‘Justin’s wish was to pay it forward and the community has done this for us and it’s helped us — it’s helped keep his name alive and it’s great for the kids,’’ Mrs Quigg said.

‘‘We talk about Justin like he’s still here and I think in this way he is still here — so it’s emotional, but it’s a happy emotion.

‘‘It’s sad, the reason we are doing it, but what’s happening in life is going to happen regardless, so if we can make it easier for someone then that’s what matters.

‘‘It’s definitely a healing process and this family will get on board with us for this year too, so everyone will meet them at the next Justin’s Day. They’ll tell their story and how it’s helped them and hopefully they’ll be there to help the next family, so I think it’s a great healing process for everyone involved.’’

The group also kept $5000 to use a foundation for putting together Justin’s Day later this year, Ms Quigg said the support coming from within Seymour has been overwhelming.

‘‘The Seymour community is amazing and they just continuously donate to us — they’ve never said no, they donate everything — but we can’t keep taking, so we’ve got that kitty to help us out so we don’t have to take as much,’’ Mrs Quigg said.

‘‘I think we’ve got a great a town and ... we’ve got our committee, but it’s bigger than that — we couldn’t do this without the community. I think we’re pretty lucky, because if you lived in a big town like Melbourne you wouldn’t have the support ... you don’t know your own neighbours there and when you’re in a local community we have the privilege of doing this and knowing people and their stories.’’

The 2018 Justin’s Day will take place on November 17, and Mrs Quigg said while the event will be condensed from a weekend into a day, it will still be jam-packed with bands, bike rides and kids’ activities.

‘‘We’ve learned the dos and don’ts from last year, so we want to make it bigger and better ... and we want to get more of the surrounding communities involved,’’ Mrs Quigg said.

‘‘Everyone just gets involved — Justin was such a big personality. The help, especially from Party Hire and the Royal Hotel — we wouldn’t have a place, or toilets, fencing and marquees without them, as well as James Glover (Forge Productions) who organised all the music and the sound system.

‘‘We want to make it huge, so that everyone recognises our Justin’s Day logo and thinks about donating ... we see these T-shirts in Melbourne and Shepparton, so it’s fantastic. This year is going to bigger and better, and in five years’ time I think we’re going to huge. If we can raise $20000 this year, imagine what we can do in the future.’’

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