With the hope of giving practical help at a time of unspeakable tragedy, people across the region have rallied to support the family of little Archie Byrnes.
Dad Luke Byrnes said he was “overwhelmed by all the support and kind words from everyone” since he and his “beautiful boy” suffered a car accident on Sunday.
Two fundraisers launched that night have already collected more than $24,000 for the Tamworth residents.
It’s hoped this will help the adored three-year-old’s parents, Mr Byrnes and Sammy McAlpine, have a fitting farewell for their son, and simply make money something they don’t have to worry about.
Mr Byrnes told the Leader his hope from the tragedy was that people would “just … be humble and cherish your loved ones”.
In a moving message he shared with the NDL, he sent his love to friends and strangers alike, pleading with people to hold their children close and never hold a grudge.
“Life is so, so precious. Please cherish your family, cherish your little ones, hold them a little while longer while ever you can,” he wrote.
“What I am going through and what Archie’s mother is enduring, no one, absolutely no one, should have to experience it. I know so many people that have had to say goodbye to their children and now I am one of those people … My heart is shattered for Archie.”
A Facebook fundraiser, Fly High Archie Boy, had aimed to reach $20,000 and was already over $15,000 today.
The family members who set it up told the Leader they were “overwhelmed with the response”.
The funds are to help with the costs of the parents who “have to face life without their precious baby”, they said.
“This fundraiser will help Sammy and Luke pay for all funeral expenses and to help get their life back on track.”
North Tamworth Rugby League Club has raised $9000-plus, the club and players starting off with $5500 before the wider community began kicking in.
What I am going through and what Archie’s mother is enduring, no one, absolutely no one, should have to experience it ... My heart is shattered for Archie.- Luke Byrnes
Committee member Brad McManus said the loss of Archie was “dreadful” and the Bears wanted to help in any way they could.
“Luke has been a big part of the club for the last few years – not only Luke, his family,” Mr McManus said.
“Archie would come to games and training with Luke, and play with the other kids … We just thought: we want to give our little mate the best send-off he deserves, so if we can help in that small way, so be it.”
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