Stuart Butler of Illawarra, NSW was named a deserving LG Local Legend in September 2020. Stuart works full time as a HSEQ Business Partner at Coates Hire and devotes his spare time to brightening the lives of, and raising funds for, terminally ill children and their families. He does this through the not-for-profit he founded in 2018, Bikers 4 Heroes.
His passion for helping these children and their families started back in 2018 when he attended his first Illawarra Community Foundation ‘Convoy Free Family Fun Day’, which over the past 15 years has supported children suffering from terminal illnesses and their families. He is such a proud supporter of the day, that this is what inspired him to do more to help give back to his community.
The incredibly powerful and important event sees thousands of bikers, truck drivers and cars ride from Appin, NSW all the way to the Shellharbour Airport. At the end of the route, a ‘Fun Day’ of live music, food and rides are set up for the community to enjoy.
After participating in this convoy in 2018, Stuart decided he wanted to give back to his community in a way that to him is “worth more than just a $15 registration fee.” As a father of three children, he is grateful for their good health and explains that if anything were to happen to one of them, he would hope that the community would rally behind his family. Following this, he was motivated to do more for terminally ill children. After reflecting on the day and brainstorming how he could give back to his community, Bikers 4 Heroes was then born as a not-for-profit that raises funds for the Illawarra Convoy.
To raise funds for Illawarrra Community Foundation, the team of volunteers host live events and radio biddings while dressed up as superheroes for the kids. At the 2019 Illawarra Convoy, Bikers 4 Heroes contributed a monumental donation of $45,000. This year, the organisation is facing new challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are still working in the background to help sick children, but, are especially careful when in contact with them or their families. Most recently Stuart and his team partnered with ‘Supertee’ to gift sick children medical grade garments that are designed to resemble superhero costumes. The team of 17 are delivering the first batch of 252 Supertees to Wollongong Hospital Children’s Ward this year.
Stuart explains that this was an easy concept to come up with, as he believes that all children who are doing it tough are the real superheroes. The team’s motto is, ‘Life isn’t always fair so let’s make it fun.’
We spoke with Stuart to find out more about his selfless efforts supporting children and families affected by terminal illnesses. You can read his inspiring answers below:
LG: What prompted you to give back in your community?
I dressed up and rode a friend’s motorcycle in the 2018 I98FM Illawarra Convoy. I paid my $15 registration and that was all I needed to do. After completing the ride, I started thinking, “what if one of my children had a medical condition? Would someone stand up and help my family?”
So, I continued to reflect on the day and started to come up with ways I could help. It was at that point that I decided to form Bikers 4 Heroes. We originally started with just three members, and now we have 17 amazing individuals who devote their time to dress up and conduct fundraising activities for extremely sick and terminally ill children and their families.
LG: How did you come up with the concept?
The superhero theme was an easy theme to come up with and rewarding for our team. Our motto is ‘Life isn’t always fair so let’s make it fun’ and I’m a firm believer in the fact that the children doing it tough are the real superheroes and we draw our energy from them.
LG: Have you come up against any challenges?
The only challenge that we have faced is not being able to help more families. As a fundraising group we are somewhat limited in what we can do. We have now started raising funds to purchase Supertees and we will very shortly be delivering our first batch of 252 Supertees to Wollongong Hospital Children’s Ward!
Supertee’s are a fantastic medical grade garment designed by Sydney designer, Jason Sotiris, as a superhero costume that is safe and shows that ‘every superhero deserves a costume’
LG: What results have you achieved so far?
At the 2019 I98FM Illawarra Convoy, Bikers 4 Heroes put in a monumental donation of $45,000.
LG: What is next for you and your initiative?
At the moment we are very limited in what we can do due to COVID-19. However, we are planning some amazing events that we are hoping will be able to go ahead next year and in the meantime, we are still raising money in the background to support the community. Currently, we are focusing on our partnership with SuperTee to brighten the days of children in hospital.
Tell us your thoughts on being named an LG Local Legend.
Being recognised as an LG Local Legend is something I never expected, and I am still trying to wrap my head around the honour. What we do is extremely rewarding and so is teaching people in our community that you can do more. It means so much to be recognised by the LG Local Legends program as I believe it empowers people to know that it is still possible to make a difference in your community, even with holding down full-time employment.
We would truly like to thank Stuart for his contributions to terminally ill children and their families. We wish him well as he continues to make a difference in his community.
If you know someone like Stuart making a difference through their time, actions, talents and/or dedication to others, you can nominate them to be named an LG Local Legend by visiting www.lglifesgood.com.au/nominate-a-local-legend. We are looking forward to celebrating their achievements with you soon!.