The sun will be shining for little Sonny at GBR marathon


Karlie Brady

Junior Reporter

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Three-year-old Sonny Dare

PORT Douglas will be filled with a ray of sunshine on Sunday as team Sonny Days runs in the Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival to honour the memory of three-year-old Sonny Dare.

In January of this year Sonny passed away suddenly of unknown causes leaving behind Mum Emma, Dad Ben and little sister Daisy, now they are determined to keep his memory alive.

Sonny’s Mum Emma Dare said they decided to put a team together for the Marathon festival because they wanted to use Sonny’s spirit as a motivation for others to get active.

“We have always been a very active family and wanted Sonny to grow up knowing that being healthy and exercising was just a normal way to live your life,” she said.

“So despite the tragedy that we're dealing with and the sadness that we’re feeling we thought we'd be able to encourage other people to feel happy and healthy.”

Emma said that another main motivator in organising the team was to keep Sonny present in everyone’s thoughts.

“One of the hardest parts for the us has been the thought that Sonny would be forgotten. So by having people do things in his honour helps keep his memory alive and also helps us create new memories with him involved.”

She added that they decided to use the Great Barrier Reef Marathon because of its beautiful location.

“We thought people could have a nice weekend away and we initially thought we’d just probably get a couple of friends are family together to do it.”

Team Sonny Days now has 120 registrants with more expected to sign up over the next few days.

“It's a bit of a mix of all the different distances but that's what was appealing as well, that everyone could get involved in a different sort of distance that they were comfortable with.

“For us it's a real family event so there's a lot of children doing the two kilometre,” she said.

The team will run to rise funds for Precious Wings, a charity that gifts memory boxes to families after the loss of a child. The box provides a place to keep precious items such as hand and foot prints or a lock of hair and also contains candles, affirmations and contact details for support groups. The box helps reinforce the fact that the child existed and that he or she is loved and remembered.

The charity currently mostly runs in Brisbane hospitals but the funds that Sonny Days raise will go to being able to gift boxes to the Cairns hospitals.

“If any family has to go through something like us, the box helps just ease the pain in such an absolutely tragic time by helping you create memories,” Emma said.

“Each box is donated in honour of another child so through the funds we raised we will be able to donate a lot of these boxes in Sonny’s name so it once again helps keep his memory alive.”

The Dare family has sold 345 Sonny Days shirts for the event with all funds raised from the shirts going to Precious Wings.

“We've also had a couple of sponsors come on board and they have donated some money as well and in terms of ongoing donations we're going to have a donation tin in our tent on the day of the run.”

Emma added that they named Sonny because he reminded them of sunshine and to them sunshine invokes happiness. So they made the team’s shirts for the event yellow and full of sunflowers to “create a sea of sunshine and happiness” across Port Douglas to remember their beautiful little boy.

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