A grieving father is raising awareness about stillbirths by pushing an empty stroller at marathons.
Troy Austin, from Australia, is an Ironman competitor and a triathlete. In 2016, his son T.G. was still born three days after he and his wife learned their unborn baby had no heartbeat, ABC News reports.
“After a few emotionally painful days, you go to the hospital to give birth, knowing that your bub isn’t coming home to his room,” he said.
Austin said he coped with the loss by focusing on his physical fitness. During a recent race, Austin decided to raise awareness about stillbirths by pushing an empty stroller as he ran. The stroller was sitting unused in the couple’s garage since they lost their son.
He said throughout the race, people made jokes about the empty stroller, not realizing it was symbolic.
In a Facebook post, Austin said at one point, a race announcer said over the loud speaker, “Here comes old mate, and it looks like he lost his kid.”
“They weren’t trying to be mean; it was just the Aussie humor. Stillbirth was the furthest from their mind, and I understood that,” Austin told ABC News. “I kept answering the onslaught of questions and shout-outs with, ‘That’s the point,’ and, ‘Yes I have lost my son and I’m not getting him back.'”
Since losing T.G., the couple has welcomed another son, Samuel. They say they still honor T.G. symbolically at family events with a small giraffe.