BLAKE Shaw was only three years old at the time of his tragic death, but his father Tim is determined his young life will leave a lasting impression.
The Clear Lake youngster died in August after a free-standing bookshelf collapsed – a tragedy his father has since discovered is all too common.
Now Mr Shaw and his partner Kirstie are launching the Purple Turtle Foundation to raise awareness of home safety and support families that lose a child.
“Blake was my everything, he always made people smile,” Mr Shaw said.
“He was a wonderful, adventurous child. He was cheeky but he never did anything wrong.
“I really wanted to raise awareness.
“My son died, but if the word is out and something is done that will save lives, then I can comfortably say Blake only grew to the age of three but he saved at least 10 lives.
“It really does upset me thinking about it happening to other families, it’s destroyed this one completely.”
Mr Shaw said at the time of the collapse, Blake was four feet away from the bookshelf.
He was shocked to discover how frequently injuries and deaths happened because of unsecured furniture.
My son died, but if the word is out and something is done that will save lives, then I can comfortably say Blake only grew to the age of three but he saved at least 10 lives.
Mr Shaw said people in the Wimmera must be especially cautious because foundations moved.
“We had a lot of rain and one of the stumps must have sunk. We were all within five metres of Blake,” he said.
“I was shocked. One child under five has died every year since 2000 from unsecured furniture.”
Mr Shaw is working to create a bracket or drop hook to easily secure furniture.
He hoped Standards Australia would help distribute his life-saving invention.
“If it has a cheap clip in the furniture box, people can use it and it’s job done – it’s not moving,” he said.
Mr Shaw said the foundation was named after Blake’s favourite saying, and it would offer financial assistance for counselling.
He said the group would create a sense of community for families who lose a young child.
Mr Shaw hoped it would also help practical tasks, like mowing lawns and paying to give children days out.
“I’ve got two older boys, Alex, 10, and Eli, 13, even getting them out too,” he said.
“The foundation would give movie vouchers or bowling coupons.”
He said there were limited support services in the Wimmera for families who had lost a child, with the family travelling to Ballarat.
“There isn’t anything to say to someone who has lost a child,” he said.
“You need people around you after a situation like that – even if you can’t stand it, even if you want them gone and want to be left alone.
“You could very easily give up at any second. At the moment I’m obviously going through the worst part of my life.
“The lack of services, I tell you what, it could have led to the end of me. It’s just extremely hard.”
Mr Shaw said the death of a child was emotionally draining but also filled with unexpected financial costs.
“After the funeral, we’re struggling. We’re having trouble. We need a new mower and my car just blew up,” he said.
He said money raise would go to the family and the creation of the bracket.
- Lifeline 131 114