Parents battle through indescribable loss to help others
NOT many would volunteer to embark on a gruelling 35km trek, but for Brett and Michelle Paulsen, it was a shining light through their tunnel of darkness.
The Paulsens have suffered indescribable loss during their time as parents.
Both of their sons' lives were cut drastically short after they lost their battles with mitochondrial disease.
A year has passed since Hayden, 14, said his final goodbyes to his loving family, while his younger brother, Jacob, died in 2014. He was three.
To honour their boys' passion for life, Brett and Michelle recently took on a 35km journey from Coolum Beach to Mooloolaba Beach.
The Bloody Long Walk came to the Coast for the first time on a mission to raise funds for the Mito Foundation, which hits close to home for the couple.
Leading the walk off with their sons in their hearts, Brett said it was extremely special to them.
"There's a saying that basically says no one in your life is truly gone until the ripples they left behind are too, and our goal is to not them disappear and keep them in our lives," he said.
"Although we're still a bit lost in life, that walk was one thing that gave us something to focus on."
Finishing the trek wasn't the pair's only mission, as they raised just under $4500 to ensure more research was provided for the "tragic" condition.
"We just hope in the future that through research something can be discovered to help people," he said.
"Our goal is for when parents are told their children receive that diagnosis, it's not that nothing can be done for them."
Those interested can still donate by heading to Team Hayden and Jacob Paulsen on the Bloody Long Walk's website.