MATTY HILLCOAT'S TRUCKIE'S DAY OUT: Dan and Kris HIllcoat with kids Jim, Blaik and Charlie Hillcoat last year.
MATTY HILLCOAT'S TRUCKIE'S DAY OUT: Dan and Kris HIllcoat with kids Jim, Blaik and Charlie Hillcoat last year. Renee Albrecht

Tragic loss behind Matty Hillcoat's Truckies Day Out

A GYMPIE region family devastated by the loss of their second son, Matthew Blaik Hillcoat (or Matty as he was affectionately known) to SIDS at nearly four months old are committed to raising awareness for this heartbreaking loss of life.

In its second year, the Matty Hillcoat's Truckies Day Out will be held in honour of Matty, to raise awareness and funds to Stamp Out SIDS, at the Gympie Showgrounds next Saturday, the weekend anniversary of Matty's death.

"This will be a fantastic event for the whole family, and (the concept of a truck show) is really a first of it's kind in Gympie," said Matty's mum and event organiser Kristine Hillcoat.

"There will be plenty of variety and we're excited this event will attract visitors from the surrounding region and parts of Queensland, and give local residents an enjoyable day out."

"The Truckies Day Out theme was an easy one for us, with truck driving in the blood from both sides of the family and our sons are fourth generation 'mad-keen' truck enthusiasts."

The event boasts a range of truck and ute competitions, tractor pull, chainsaw racing, pig racing, vintage machinery display, food stalls, kids entertainment, charity auction and live entertainment by local band Big T & The Backliners.

There's great prizes up for grabs for Rig of the Show and Ute of the Show, and more than 20 categories for trucks to enter to win.

"We were overwhelmed with the support we received last year, as our first year of hosting the event," Kristine said.

"We had almost 70 trucks attend from all parts of Queensland, and raised over $22,000 which was directed towards River's Gift's SIDS research initiatives," she said.

Dan and Kristine Hillcoat's second son, Matty, was born on June 16, 2011, and from this time he was a happy little guy adored by everyone who met him.

Tragically, on October 8, 2011, Matty passed away in his sleep without warning.

In the search for answers during a time of grief and despair, the Hillcoats reached out to River's Gift, a Geelong based charity at the fore of world leading SIDS research, and providing safe sleep education.

"We've joined the River's Gift Unite to SOS (Stamp Out SIDS) family and are raising funds which will go towards a genetics SIDS research project recently started between The University of South Australia, Adelaide University and River's Gift,", says Kristine.

"River's Gift was established in 2011 by a family similarly devastated to ours after they lost their son, River, to SIDS."

River's Gift is the leading source of funding for SIDS research and Australia's solely SIDS

focused charity, aiming to Stamp Out SIDS.

"Through their Unite to SOS program, River's Gift has given us the inspiration, opportunity and support to hold an event that will not only honour Matty but help raise funds to find a

cure.

"River's Gift's primary objective is to fund world-leading SIDS research to make a tangible contribution to the discovery of a cure for this heart-breaking loss of life," says River's Gift general manager Karl Waddell.

SIDS is the sudden unexpected death of an infant under one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation, including an autopsy. It is one of the leading causes of death in infants between one month and one year in Australia and the developed world.

Matty Hillcoat's Truckie's Day Out will be held at the Gympie Showgrounds next Saturday, October 6, gates open at 10am, with ticket prices at $15 for adults, $10 for concession holders, and children under 12 are free. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Further information about River's Gift can be found at: riversgift.com

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