Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with the Kelly family, and to photograph Chris Lawrence and Luke Brooks of the West Tigers and Tim Mannah of the Parramatta Eels as they donned their new "Stay Kind" Jerseys for the inaugural Stay Kind Cup.
Ralph and Kathy's son, Thomas, was the victim of the coward one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge in King's Cross in 2012. In an effort to curb alcohol fuelled violence, the Kelly's established the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation following the loss of Thomas. Tragically, their younger son, Stuart, took his own life nearly a year ago. As one of my own son's best friends, we feel this loss deeply but more importantly, the whole of Australia mourns for the Kelly family. Their courage and hope for a better world is remarkable.
Aiming to bring awareness to youth suicide, the Stay Kind (SK for Stuart Kelly) initiative now forms part of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation. The initiative is about kindness and respect towards all people, fostering a supportive environment in all aspects of life and community. It is about the opportunity to save lives. The inaugural Stay Kind Cup will be played between the Eels and the West Tigers at the ANZ Stadium on the 23rd of July. Donations on the day will go towards Lifeline. The ANZ stadium holds 80,000 people. Each year in Australia, nearly 77,000 people try to take their lives. This initiative aims to make a difference.
For support and information about suicide prevention, please ring Lifeline on 13 11 14.