BUSES wearing red noses will be seen driving around town this week as Eggins Comfort Coaches joins the awareness campaign for today's Red Nose Day.
Richard Eggins has purchased five red noses for his buses and has also made a very generous donation to the fundraising campaign for the SIDS and Kids Foundation.
Leading the local fundraising is Mandy Heaslip, a mum who has experienced the support of the SIDS and Kids Foundation first hand.
"SIDS, cot death, Red Nose Day I had heard of all these things, supported them through my school years and the quirky badges they brought out but never did I imagine that one day I would be needing the support from the foundation myself."
At just 18 years of age and already a young mum of a daughter, 21 months at the time, Mandy's life was about to be turned upside down.
"An emotional roller coaster like I would've never thought I would be on was about to start," Mandy said.
"My perfect eight week and two day old baby boy had passed away silently in his cot and I had no idea what to do but scream.
"Baylee has been gone 11 years now and it doesn't get easier. You just learn how to cope.
"The SIDS and Kids Foundation was supporting me literally from that day. I had a phone call, then a bereavement information pack within 24 hours, then a few days later plaster hand and foot prints that are priceless treasures.
"I have had some hard times where I have needed to call someone when all my usual supports would be asleep or busy and I have called the 24-hour bereavement support line which runs 365 days a year.
"All of this support and the ongoing research I hope to have an answer in my lifetime as to why my perfect baby Baylee is now my angel."
Mandy got involved in fundraising just a few years ago when another bereaved mother from Forster asked her to get involved because she wanted to 'paint the town red' for Red Nose Day.
"Unfortunately during the last two years she has had some battles on her own so I'm determined to make it happen for her.
"Richard Eggins was more than happy to jump on board to help us out and what better way to do it than raising awareness through his very well known comfort coaches that keep Taree and surrounding areas running. He also made a very generous donation. I am so very grateful."
Taree Christian College is also getting involved, ordering enough red noses for every student to purchase one this Friday.
Red Nose Day merchandise will be sold at three locations across the Manning, with volunteer stalls set up at Taree Central, Wingham Plaza and Harrington Waters Shopping Village.
"So this Friday, please help support Red Nose Day from as little as $3 for a nose at any one of the three locations," said Mandy.
"This year's Red Nose Day theme is 'Say G'day the red nose way' and to keep with the Australian feel we are introducing new merchandise, Kevin the Koala, Rooby the Kangaroo and Charlie the Snake.
"I have also been able to special order the car and truck plastic noses after many requests for them last year.
"Hope to see you outside Big W on Friday," said Mandy.