BUTLER resident Melanie Manning and her family were first to cross the start line, signing up for next year’s Sunshine Beach Run.
The family have taken part in the annual fundraiser for SIDS and Kids since 15-month-old daughter Mylee died in 2012.
“We put Mylee to bed one night as a healthy, happy little girl and in the morning when I went to get her, every parent’s worst nightmare was our reality,” she said.
“Mylee had passed away during the night without any warning; not even a sound.
“We feel one way we can honour Mylee is to focus on her life and embrace the happy memories we have of her.
“She was our beautiful, bubbly little girl and that is how we still remember her.
“The Sunshine Beach Run is a beautiful event and gives us the opportunity to remember our daughter and channel our grief in a positive way.”
Mrs Manning said it was important for her and husband Sean to show their other children, Chase, Paisley and Eden, that even though bad things could happen, how they rose from tragedy defined them.
“Chase is so proud to run for his little sister each year,” she said.
“It has become a beautiful symbolic and positive coping mechanism for him and all of our family and friends that support us each year.
“This event brings us together and has given our family and friends something they can do with us to honour Mylee.
“So often they don’t know what to say or do so this allows them to be there for us and us to all grieve, remember and honour our little girl without any awkwardness.”
Mrs Manning wants to raise awareness of sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC), which is like sudden infant death syndrome occurring in a child over the age of one.
“SIDS and Kids provided us with invaluable support and I encourage people to sign up for the run in order to help families going through the nightmare of losing a child,” she said.
The family and their friends will take part in the fifth annual Sunshine Beach Run on February 21 to raise funds for SIDS and Kids.
Visit www.sunshinebeachrun.com.au to sign up or find out more information.