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My Hero

Running the recent Dads4Kids Instagram Photo Competition has been one of the most rewarding and emotional experiences of my life. Probably most of the photos were taken while dads spent time with their children. However many of the shots were taken in order to enter the competition – precisely the point of the exercise. The really good news is that we believe this competition has reached over 100,000 people with its important message. It is having a multiplying effect in that even more dads are spending more time with their children which is even more exciting still.

Today Dads4Kids announces the Top 25 Photos from over a thousand entries. To decide on the Top 25 has been gruelling, in a wonderful way.

Every picture tells a story and every story is worthy of first prize but this is a photo competition so it’s been tough making decisions.

Thank God for a wonderful team helping behind the scenes. Adam, Sam and Wayne have all done a great job, but Patrick Steele, a devoted father of two, has been an anchor amidst the emotional turbulence.

Take the photo collage above of Ken Powell, which shows Ken with his daughter Tara and son Stuart.

This photo was posted by Ken’s wife on the family’s hardest Father’s Day ever.

Ken passed away after a long battle with cancer just weeks short of Father’s Day and also weeks short of fulfilling his dream. The story by journalist Michelle Webster called ‘Foo Fighters fan Ken Powell dies weeks before meeting his hero Dave Grohl in LA’ is inspiring.

It seems only fitting that the song playing as Ken Powell slipped away on Monday was My Hero.

The iconic Foo Fighters tune was a perfect tribute to a man who was a hero to his family and friends, and whose long illness was endured with great strength and hope.

Mr Powell gained an international following when Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl reached out to him on Facebook, sending him tickets to the band’s show in Los Angeles in September and promising a meet and greet.

The father of two from Wollongong died from cancer just weeks before he was due to meet his heroes.

A Facebook page set up by his daughter, Tara, has been inundated with messages of support from around the world as many fans paid tribute to Mr Powell at Foo Fighters concerts this week, with signs bearing the hashtag #kenthefoofighter RIP.

The page “Ken The Foo Fighter – My Hero” has more than 8000 likes.

Ms Powell described her dad as an incredible man and an inspiration.

“His legacy has reached so many people and it’s not just people who knew him but on that Facebook page lots of people who just read his story and were touched by it,” she said.

“It’s actually quite amazing and it reminds you that, even with the way the world is at the moment, there is still so much good – that’s what my dad always said, too.”

Diagnosed with skin cancer in 2001, Mr Powell endured surgery and drug trials before being told in 2009 he had stage-four melanoma, a terminal diagnosis.

He spent his final days in palliative care at Port Kembla Hospital surrounded by his family.

“The Foo Fighters were playing when he did pass away,” Ms Powell said.

“It was actually the song My Hero, the acoustic version from the Skin and Bones album. It was pretty emotional.”

Money raised to send Mr Powell to LA will be donated to the Melanoma Institute Australia. . .
Mr Powell is survived by wife Ann and children Tara and Stuart.

I had heard of Ken’s story. Not only am I a guitarist but I also like the Foo Fighters. However I hadn’t realised the connection with the Dads4Kids Instagram Competition until I rang Ken’s wife Ann and daughter Tara to find out more about the story behind the photo. We all wept as the story of a truly heroic father was recounted.

Amazingly this family has raised almost $30,000 for the melanoma Institute of Australia. More amazingly Ken Powell was an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people around the world in his dogged fight against cancer with his mixture of determination, joy, love and faith. Ken was a true father to the fatherless through his several decades with the Scouts and was always there with a smile or a helping hand for anybody no matter where they came from. To his daughter Tara he was her hero: “My Dad was the greatest role model for how to live your life.”

See the rest of the heroic shots of Dads with their kids. I’m sure they will cause you to crack a smile or shed a tear. Enjoy some emotional turbulence as you are inspired to become the Dad your children really deserve.

Frontline 2

Frontline 4

Frontline 3

Frontline 7

Frontline 6

Frontline 5

Lovework

That’s it. Look at the Top 25 Dads4Kids Instagram Competition photos one more time. They are sure to inspire you to be the best you can be for the children you love and the family you care for.

Yours for more heroes
Warwick Marsh

PS. Our goal is to announce the winning photo on Wednesday by a special email, along with the Top 10 winners as well.

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