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Journey for sam

Charity motorcycle rider Sue Mills.
Charity motorcycle rider Sue Mills. Trevor Veale

A MOTHER'S remarkable story of carrying her children through floodwaters and climbing a steep ridge to save her young family in 2009 is driving Coffs Harbour's Suzanne Mills to undertake the biggest fundraiser of her life.

Northern Rivers woman Sandra Lawler, 43, was honoured with a Bravery Award for dragging her young children, with the help of her brother Jason Campbell, nearly 400m up a cliff to escape their flooded home in the isolated valley of Upper Wilsons Creek.

That was Sandra's only option for survival after the family spent almost a week cut off by a raging river, unable to be helped by emergency services.

Now, in the family's hour of need, Suzanne and her mates are lending a hand to ensure one of Sandra's young boys, Sam Leadbeatter, is given a 'smart puppy' to guide him through life.

Bravery award winner Sandra Lawler receives her medal with son Ben Leadbeatter (3). Ms Lawler trekked through swollen river crossings and up cliffs with her two sons to get baby Samuel, not pictured, to hospital after he developed breathing problems.
Bravery award winner Sandra Lawler receives her medal with son Ben Leadbeatter (3). Ms Lawler trekked through swollen river crossings and up cliffs with her two sons to get baby Samuel, not pictured, to hospital after he developed breathing problems. JAY CRONAN

It's amazing the lengths good people will go to help a child in need.

Suzanne and two others will today set out from the Big Banana on a 15,000km motorcycle journey over 28 days to raise the $10,000 needed to buy Sam a special needs assistance dog.

"For someone so young, five-year-old Sam has had such a hard start to life," Suzanne said.

"He suffers severe autism, global development delay, absent epilepsy seizures and has a tumour on his brain."

Sam Leadbeater is in need of an special needs assistance dog.
Sam Leadbeater is in need of an special needs assistance dog.

She said the dog would be a valuable companion for the young boy, as Sam is attracted to water and frequently wanders away.

"Sam does not respond to instructions and does not comprehend danger, such as height, steps, fire and water, which is why he needs a smart puppy to make sure he is safe 24/7," she said.

"Rather than supporting a big charity with the ride, I'd rather deliver the money where it matters most."

To support the Keep Sam Safe 24/7 campaign click here. 

Topics:  charity ride, coffs harbour



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