A triathlete father has decided to run a marathon with an empty stroller for one heartbreaking reason.
Troy Austin ran with two friends, Brett and Robert, along with thousands of other runners to start the 42.2km race at the Sunshine Coast Marathon last month, but Troy brought with him a memorable item: an empty stroller.
As he ran, other runners couldn’t help but notice his empty stroller, especially a woman who told him he lost his kid. “Yes, that’s the point,” answered Troy. He then said that the smile ‘dropped’ from the woman’s face as she came for a hug and apologised.
Troy and his wife Kelly lost their son, TG when he was stillborn at 27 weeks in January 2016.
Kelly went for an ultrasound, only to learn that her baby boy had no heartbeat. He was delivered a few days later.
Troy told the Daily Mail about the day TG was born. “You go to the hospital to give birth, knowing that your bub isn’t coming home to his room. His clothes are not needed, his cot is an empty space…We smiled through the heartache because we had our first child, we were a family,” he said.
Troy said that the good thing about having his friends with him was that they were the ones to step in to answer questions for him when it became difficult for him.
“By the last 10km both myself and Brett had finally realised that some of their laughter was because they didn’t know what to say or didn’t want to think about it. Innocently not realising what it meant and not knowing what to do when some found out,” he wrote.
Despite this, Troy remained positive and took it as an opportunity to raise awareness and break the stigma around stillbirth, and together with Kelly, they launched TG’s Legacy in hopes of fundraising to support grieving families.
Troy says the grief from losing TG will forever stay with him. “It comes in waves,” he said. “You will be doing something and just get sad, you try and remember holding your son, you wonder what you would be doing.”
He ended his Facebook post by writing: “I think the empty pram is here to stay…. not empty. My son was with us.”
The couple welcomed a new baby boy Samuel into their family last May, but they said they can never replace TG. “We will never forget TG, for he is our son,” said Troy.